Red Hawks release 2020 fall baseball schedule

Red Hawks release 2020 fall baseball schedule

HICKORY, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College baseball program has announced its fall 2020 schedule on the heels of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) releasing its 'Plan of Action' for the upcoming season.

"Words cannot express how excited we are to have our guys back on campus and eventually getting back on the field." said CVCC head baseball coach Paul Rozzelle. "Last year was definitely a nightmare in terms of what happened and the season getting cancelled. Over the last four months, it has seemed like this bad dream has just continued, but to finally have something positive to hold on to is great."

The Red Hawks were notified that the season would be coming to an end about an hour before first pitch against Union County Community College.

"It has been fantastic to watch our health care workers come up with effective treatment for the virus over the last few months," Rozzelle said. "It has been inspiring to watch."

Any questions about the NJCAA plans for next year were answered this week when NJCAA President Chris Parker rolled out the "Plan of Action" from the President's Advisory Council, which gave all NJCAA schools the path to play again.

"First off, I have to commend Dr. Parker for his leadership through these tough times," Rozzelle said. "Many organizations could take a look at what he is doing here in the NJCAA. He believes in opportunity and has been a great source of hope from Day One of this pandemic.  Definitely happy he is leading our organization."

With a plan of action in place, the Red Hawk baseball program can now focus on the road ahead.

The mantra for this year's team will be "Run to 21" with the social media #RUN2XXI.

"We want to get moving forward and away from the uncertainty of the last few months and focus on the present while looking toward the future," Rozzelle said.

Per the new NJCAA safety guidelines, the Red Hawks will be allowed to host full team practices and scrimmages starting on Sept. 10 and continuing through Nov. 8.

"This really has zero effect on our normal schedule," Rozzelle said. "We always start with small group work, which we will still be able to do along with work in the weight room, and we usually don't get on the field until the middle of September and then we are done at the end of October. So for us, this schedule is something we are used to."

One of the things that will change is how closely the school will be monitoring the players to ensure they are staying healthy and keeping others healthy as well.

"Our guys will be tested prior to the first day of school," Rozzelle said. "Any player who tests positive will undergo quarantine and will be retested before they can return to school and baseball activities. Players will have temperatures checked daily and all equipment will be cleaned between each session. It is exciting to be a part of a school that is proactive and finds solutions to move forward. Just a sign of great leadership."

The Red Hawks start the fall season Sunday, Sept. 13 against showcase organization Charlotte Megastars at home.

Other highlights for the CVCC baseball team this fall include:

    •    Saturday, Sept. 19 against Campbell University and two other junior colleges to be announced;
    •    Wednesday, Sept. 22 against former longtime rival Surry Community College;
    •    Saturday, Sept. 26 at Montreat and Erskine College.
    •    Saturday, Oct. 3 traveling to Gardner-Webb against two junior colleges to be determined;
    •    Tuesday, Oct. 6 against neighbors Caldwell Community College in the first of a two-game match up;
    •    And Saturday, Oct. 10 have their lone match up against an NCAA Division I program at North Carolina A&T.
The Red Hawks close out their fall slate with a second match up against Caldwell Community College on Tuesday, Oct. 13 before finishing all outside competition for the fall on Saturday, Oct. 17 at L.P. Frans Stadium under the lights against cross-town Lenoir-Rhyne University.

"It is a full schedule, but considering many of the guys didn't have the opportunity to finish playing this past spring or this summer, we need to get as much work as possible," Rozzelle said. "I am excited to watch our guys get back to work, adapt to this temporary new normal and do what they love to do and that is compete on the field and chase their goals. It just fires me up thinking about it."