Cortland High School baseball coach Ben Albright said he has always been one to save mementos from games he’s coached.
“It’s just nice to bring back memories of past games,” he said.
Some of those mementos include game balls used by the school’s varsity baseball team in their first game at Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex in Cortlandville on March 29, 2019. Cortland beat Owego Free Academy, 14-0.
“It was pretty special,” he said. “To be able to get on these fields and play was pretty special.”
To show appreciation for allowing the team to use the field, Albright gave out some of those balls Saturday at the sports complex with the date and final score of the game printed on them to thank the Cortlandville public officials who helped get the sports complex built and agreed to having the team play there. Some of the officials included former Supervisor Richard Tupper and town board member Ted Testa.
“It was really neat,” said Tom Williams, Cortlandville’s current town supervisor. “I wasn’t on board back in March of ’19 but I really appreciate this.”
Williams, who was also given a game ball commemorating the game, said he would keep it on his office desk.
Before playing at Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex, all the junior high and high school teams played at Beaudry Park, Albright said.
The varsity team moved to Gutchess because the poor playing conditions caused by weather that could occur in the early spring when the season started, although the junior high team and the high school junior varsity team continued to play their games at Beaudry.
Albright said it has been tough dealing with not having school sports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It definitely was hard to swallow and you just feel bad for kids in general,” he said. “They need sports not just for an activity but to help their social and emotional states.”
Albright has filled the baseball void to a degree by coaching for the Crown City Little League and 16U Cortland Junior Crush, which have restarted games at the sports complex.
“That’s been nice to be doing something kids love and hopefully we can get back to normalcy and see and get kids back to doing what they love,” Albright said.