Texas Collegiate League Loses One Team Due to COVID-19
Editor's note: College Baseball Nation is joined by guest writer, Riley Zayas, for coverage of the Texas Collegiate League. Riley Zayas is a high school freshman and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kid reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports magazine and website. He is passionate about all things sports and can be followed on Twitter at @ZayasRiley.
In an unfortunate turn of events, the Round Rock Hairy Men, the South division’s first place team heading into the weekend, are out for the rest of the season.
Although it seemed like the Texas Collegiate League (TCL) had weathered the storm and finished the season unscathed during the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple members of the team tested positive, as was reported by the team Saturday.
Following a series sweep over Brazos Valley, the Hairy Men were preparing for a home-away-home series against San Antonio to close out the regular season. All Round Rock needed was to win one game, and they would punch their ticket to the four-team playoff. That “one game” was never played, as Friday’s showdown was cancelled due to heavy rain and unplayable field conditions. Prior to Saturday’s matchup in San Antonio, team management put out a press release announcing the immediate cancellation of the season.
It was a quick and sudden end to the season for the Hairy Men, who had finally gotten on a roll heading into the last week of the season.
“With just two games remaining in our season, out of an abundance of caution, we felt it was in the best interest of our staff to end the season now,” said General Manager Tim Jackson.
This will leave a negative mark on a season that brought live baseball to the Central Texas area and gave so many players the opportunity to perform in an environment like Dell Diamond and better themselves heading into fall workouts. However, players like first baseman Ryan Hernandez are not dwelling in the unfortunate occurrence of the situation, but rather, embracing the time they were able to spend in Round Rock.
“When it comes to our safety and health, the Hairy Men Staff has done a great job all summer long,” said Hernandez, who will be a senior at Houston this fall. “Thank you for giving us a place to play and enjoy our summer. Lastly I’d like to thank all the fans and families that made it such a fun and loving atmosphere!”
Unlike the Hairy Men, the Brazos Valley Bombers, who now by default lead the south division, have told College Baseball Nation that their season is set to continue. For now, everything will continue to move as planned, minus the presence of the Hairy Men in the league.
Next week, the playoffs are set to begin, with the top two teams from the South and top two from the North each battling in a three game series. Saturday will conclude the 2020 season, with a winner-take-all championship game, between the North and South division winners.
“We would like to thank the players, coaches and staff that made this such a memorable season,” said President Chris Almendarez, the father of Chase, who managed the squad, and Luke, a middle infielder for the team. “We would also like to thank the fans, media and everyone that supported this team as we brought baseball back to Central Texas.”
The Hairy Men conclude their inaugural campaign with a 16-11 record. It is not yet known as to whether they will be back for the 2021 TCL season.