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Midnight Practices Kick Off Iowa High School Summer Sports

High School

COLLINS, Iowa — “Itching to get back,” is an understatement for the Collins-Maxwell softball team. The two-time defending state champions were sitting at the edge of their seats waiting to hear the two words “play ball.” Once they did, the Spartans knew they had to get back at it as soon as they could, literally. The team held practice right at 12:00 a.m.

The road into Collins is usually a dark, quiet one in the middle of the night, but on June 1st at 12:01 a.m. it was filled with the sounds of bats hitting and gloves popping, with bright lights shining down.

“Three, two, one, whoo!” the Collins-Maxwell softball team screamed while throwing up their gloves when the clock struck midnight. Their first practice of the 2020 season was underway.

“I think it’s something special and definitely fits the strange season, I guess,” Collins-Maxwell senior Emma Kahler said.

“I felt like all of our energy was up, even though it was so late. [We were] saying, ‘we’re excited’ ‘we’re ready’ and we’re all really motivated too,” Collins-Maxwell senior Olivia Pasquariello said.

COVID-19 took away their spring sports and canceled almost everything in sight, but softball and baseball in Iowa are back swinging. That has the Spartan ladies pretty pumped, even at 12 a.m.

“I usually like being loud and stuff, so it was hard to tone it down. When I first got here I was yelling and I kinda had to get reminded like ‘shhh,'” Pasquariello said.

Though excited and having fun, time wasn’t wasted. The team went through drills for over an hour with that chance at a three-peat state title in the back of their minds.

“We have a ton of talent back so we are looking to get right back at it again. There’s no guarantees, and we know that, but at least we now have a chance to win another one,” Collins-Maxwell softball head coach Troy Houge said.

More importantly, the practice under the lights was one for the players to remember. A season almost lost for good, is now restored.

“Senior year wasn’t how I thought it was going to be, but having this summer and having something to do definitely made it a lot better,” Kahler said.

“Something good comes out of it. It’s been a tough situation all year, but getting this is nice, getting one final chance to get closure I guess,” Pasquariello said.

During these practices, coaches are to ensure as much social distancing as possible. They are also supposed to sanitize any shared equipment both before and after practices. Dugouts are also not allowed to be used during practices.

The first games of the season will take place on June 15th.

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