Baseball

Koby Varas manages to avoid a tag by Scituate shortstop Joe Angelino as he steals second base during a win last May. The RIIL officially canceled the spring sports season on Friday. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League made it official Friday morning cancelling spring sports.

The decision was a foregone conclusion when Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Thursday that schools would be closed through June and students would be educated with distant learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I’m sure for the majority of our athletes, coaches and parents they are very sad, frustrated and maybe even angry right now," Chariho athletic director Mike Shiels said.

Shiels said it is important that students receive support.

"We have to help them get through this process," Shiels said. "Sometimes in life things happen that can be very hard to deal with. When you take something away the void needs to be filled somehow. And we have to fill it with something positive."

Shiels said Chariho senior Ali Klein, an intern with him this year, has produced a video that features senior athletes. Shiels hopes to distribute that to athletes and parents.

Shiels is also hoping to conduct some type of recognition ceremony for senior athletes.

"Through the NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) we are hoping to come up with a way to livestream a video event from our gym free of charge," Shiels said. "We could have two or three people in the gym calling out each senior's names. We are kicking around a couple of ideas. We are still going to recognize those seniors."

Shiels was a three-sport athlete at Chariho and played baseball in the spring.

"My senior year we had a really good season and it was a surprise," Shiels said. "I couldn't image not being able to experience that. And having senior night to walk out with your parents and the senior banquet, those things aren't going to happen. That's the sad part."

Westerly High athletic director Jamey Vetelino said in an email that it is a challenging time.

"As has been stated before, this really is an unprecedented time. I will not pretend to know what is right or what is wrong now, but I know a big part of a students life was taken away recently," Vetelino said in his email statement. "What is learned through face to face interactions, competition and socialization will never be replaced remotely, distantly, virtually or whatever you want to classify it as.

"Ultimately we will continue to trust and work within the parameters given to us by state and local leaders. When the time is right, we will return to athletics with a renewed passion, with a sense of lost time, with additional purpose as we now know what it's like to have something we love taken away. Let's be better, re-focused and rejuvenated when we do return. I am already getting pumped just thinking of those days ahead!"

Vetelino was a track athlete at Westerly and won a New England championship in the spring of his senior year.

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference said Thursday it will not be conducting any springs sports championship events, but has not yet canceled the season. Schools in Connecticut are closed through May 20.

Spring sports in Maine and New Hampshire have been canceled. In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association canceled spring sports on Friday.

In Vermont, a final decision will be made by April 30.

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