Less than an hour after redshirt senior catcher Abby Lockman launched her fourth home run of 2020, she was told by head coach Kim Sowder, along with the rest of her team, that their season could possibly be coming to an end.
“A lot of the girls are sad,” Lockman said. “We have so much left. It’s unfair if it does end up being the last [game].”
The Big West Conference announced Thursday morning that all spring competition would be suspended, “effective immediately,” due to threats of the spread of coronavirus. It was later followed by the NCAA releasing a statement echoing the same sentiments for, “all remaining winter and spring championships.”
“Our goal is to always play every game possible, to have the best record possible to win championships and develop leaders,” Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee told the Forty-Niner Tuesday. “However, the health and well-being of our students, staff, and coaches is the most important factor in our decision process and if needed we would err on the side of safety.”
Lockman, in her fifth and final year of collegiate eligibility, was hoping to leave it all out on the dirt one last time for the Beach.
“This is my last season. [I went] into this year with no regrets,” Lockman said. “Not finishing out the season would be bummer. If [the season] ended today I would be devastated.”
Lockman spent three years playing for the University of Tennessee before transferring to Long Beach State for graduate school.
“I still have school, I don’t know, I’ve never been just a student before,” Lockman said. “Not coming to the clubhouse every day and seeing my best friends.”
Looking for one last swing in the college softball circuit, Lockman currently leads Long Beach in home runs (5), is second in RBI’s (14), tied for second in doubles (5) and fourth in hits (19) with a .302 batting average.
But instead of focusing on not being able to play, Lockman is keeping a positive mindset throughout the adversity.
“I’m staying optimistic,” she said. “[I’m] still in hopes this isn’t my last game. A lot of the girls worked hard in the fall for the season … I hope we can continue.”
Although Lockman would like to be able to finish the season, she agrees with the Big West Conference and Long Beach State’s decision to cancel upcoming games for the spring semester.
“[The virus] spread like wildfire. I agree with online classes … It’s a smart thing to do to slow down the spread,” Lockman said. “I hope the NCAA and other conferences work together to figure something out so we can continue to play.”
Even though the scene was “quiet and sad” after the teams’ 8-0 win over the University of Boston in what may have been the NCAA’s final game played in the spring 2020 semester, the team is still keeping its eyes on its goals set at the beginning of the year.
“I’m not ready to be done. I don’t think any of the student-athletes are done,” Lockman said. “I told the team, ‘We better be bringing our bats home to get some swings in, because we’re not done yet.’”
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