Coach's Message 06.01.2020

Players, parents, friends of Cougar baseball and coaches, this message updates you on where we currently stand with the planned re-start to our summer 2020 season. As a baseline, I have included a copy of a letter that our Jeffco Executive Director of Athletics recently sent out. Please read it.

[start of quote/letter] “Thank you for reaching out. I greatly appreciate your concerns around the impact this pandemic is having on our student-athletes, coaches, and everyone associated with high school athletics. We all have the same goal in mind, to return to participation and doing it in the safest way possible. Currently, Jefferson County Public Health orders forbid athletic team workouts at P-12 schools until August 1st. However, we have developed return-to-work out plans so we are prepared should that order be adjusted to an earlier date. Those plans are being shared with the Public Health department in the next few days. I would like to provide some clarity around CHSAA's statement. Because summer is the only time during the year that high schools have no in-season sports or activities, CHSAA pretty much takes a hands-off approach to summer activity. In other words, their administrative reach ends when the spring sport season concludes, and picks up again when the fall season begins in August, though bylaws are still in place, i.e., voluntary workouts, transfers, regaining of eligibility, etc. Per the CHSAA Board of Directors, the moratorium put in place during the spring would end June 1st (end of spring season) and any decisions beyond that date and through the summer would be up to individual school districts. CHSAA's statement, in no way, is promoting a return to workouts beyond what state and local health officials feel are safe. The CHSAA commissioner reiterated this point last Friday afternoon in a follow up email to all schools throughout the state. For any schools to be currently endorsing contact between coaches and athletes would still be a violation of the CHSAA moratorium, which expires next Monday. If kids are going to parks to do workouts individually, or with teammates, it most likely is without coach’s present. I am aware of some of that going on in different parts of the metro area.

I am in constant contact with other District Athletic Directors from across the state. We meet as a group at least once a week. The vast majority of districts remain on a no in-person contact moratorium through June. I know two districts (Colorado Springs and Poudre) are considering moving that date up to early June. All others remain on July 1st or August 1st. Besides the District AD's, I know that the superintendents all meet weekly, as well. Everyone is working towards a fair, equitable, and safe return to workouts, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I hope this brings some clarity to the situation.

Jim Thyfault Executive Director of Athletics & Activities Jefferson County Schools” [end of quote/letter]

As a H.S. Head Coach here in Jeffco, here are a few of my guiding principles. I want to be ready to practice then play as soon as we get the green light, using our baseball field. I believe that we are getting closer to that point. I also want to do this following NCAA/NAIA, NFHS, State of Colorado, CHSAA and Jeffco School District guidelines and best practices. At a minimum, our plan calls for temperature checks, social distancing, and cleaning protocols. I need to find the funds to purchase portable digital forehead reading temperature gauges, and disinfectant, cleaning solutions and advisory signage for the field. I want to manage risk and safety factors for all student-athletes returning to practice and play. In my opinion, players will need 2 weeks of on-field conditioning before we play games. Our original plan was to host under the umbrella of our Evergreen Cougar Baseball Club (ECBC), 3 summer teams: 18u, 16U and a 15U team. That may change now depending on the number of players committed to play. From my latest canvas, we have enough for an 18U hybrid with an expanded roster and a 15U team. The 18U hybrid would include a core 18U team and a sub- core 16U group. I would deconflict games so that we would play in both 18u showcases and 16u games. Pitching is always an issue and that will dictate a lot of what we can do.

I am working with the coaches at UCCS and Trinidad State and as soon as their fields are open, we have talked about participating in tournaments at those venues. Colorado Classic Baseball cancelled their May tournaments and is pushing their summer season into late July – early August. Cheyenne Mtn H.S. received approval from their School District to open-up this week but as a result of the guidance I received from our District, I cancelled our participation in their late May – early June tournaments. We have placeholders in for Cheyenne Mtn H.S. 7/1-5 16u and 6/24-28 18u.

I encourage all players to take the opportunity to work on conditioning and to throw and hit so the curve to get back into baseball shape is not that steep.

The other factor is field prep. Our Booster Club will be sending out 1-2 dates for volunteer help in: dropping the outfield curtain, hanging protective screen and cage netting, opening the concession stand, and field (grass and infield dirt work). John Bellatti has been working on the field and we are patiently waiting for EPRD to turn our water on. John fertilized, top dressed and over seeded portions of the field and we are working on getting it rolled and aerated. Scott Sarkisian is completing the carpentry work on the concession stand 2nd floor stairs and the relocation of the stairs leading to the upper field. If any parents are interested in volunteering to help with field prep and with helping Scott, we are open and need the help. We just need to limit the number to no more than 10 at a given time.

I hope that everyone is well and that this message helps update you on where we currently stand. Thank you for your patience.

John Lipka

Evergreen H.S. (EHS) Cougar Baseball

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