For Cortland High baseball coach Ben Albright, March begins a very busy time.
Albright not only coaches the Purple Tigers varsity baseball team, but he is a Crown City Little League coach among many other things. With COVID-19 shutting down sports at all levels it is a little quieter than normal. Or as quiet as it can be for him, his wife Abbey and their three boys.
“I’m used to a lot going on at once,” Albright said. “To say I’m beyond bored is an understatement. This is all so unbelievable right now.”
That doesn’t mean things aren’t hectic with sons Caden (13 years old), Cal (10) and Camden (7).
“There still is plenty to do,” Albright said. “Abbey and I are busy with school work for our students as teachers. We’re getting our kids through their school work and trying to keep them busy. We try to encourage getting outside whenever they can on a nice day.”
Caden is looking to play on Cortland High’s JV baseball team. Cal was readying for another season of little league and Camden was starting is first year of little league.
“We have 6 acres of land so the boys and I are doing things,” Albright said. “We can set up different stations outside to practice when the weather is nice. We are adjusting, though Camden really wondered why the Little League Assessment Day was postponed since this is his first year of little league.”
Cortland High plays its games at the Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex, so field conditions are a minimal concern with turf fields, not grass. Officially, practice never started at the high school, but the players did get a little outside time before the quarantine shut down the area schools.
“Even though we can’t practice together, we are in constant contact,” Albright said of his varsity players. “I can relay workouts they can do through social media. The guys know things they can work on. There is extra off-season condition work they can do. They guys have been good about working on their own, but we would all like to be on the field together.”
Albright had even coordinated a scrimmage for Monday with neighboring Homer Central, but that, of course, is on hold.
“Naz (Trojan coach Robert Nasiatka) and I had the scrimmage worked out,” Albright said. “We were looking forward to an expanded Partigianoni Tournament in April with eight teams and each team playing a minimum of three games over the weekend. All of this is up in the air right now.”
With schools closed until April 15 at a minimum, the high school sports season is still up in the air.
“That would be devastating for our seniors if the season is canceled,”Albright said. “A high school senior doesn’t get another year of eligibility like college seniors might. There is the possibility that some of our guys have played their last game and put on their uniform for the last time. I hope not. That’s really tough to swallow so I hope we get to have some sort of season.”
For now, it’s sit and wait. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has an April 27 deadline to announce the fate of the spring sports championship season.