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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Baseball

With COVID-19 cancellations looming, UH baseball enjoyed a HR derby in final practice


Junior catcher Kyle Lovelace said on Thursday's Coaches Caravan with UH baseball players and coaches that he has had access to a batting cage to practice his swings during the pandemic lull. | Jhair Romero/ The Cougar

Junior catcher Kyle Lovelace said on Thursday’s Coaches Caravan with UH baseball players and coaches that he has had access to a batting cage to practice his swings during the pandemic lull. | Jhair Romero/ The Cougar

When the UH baseball team left the field at Earl E. Watson Stadium in Las Vegas following a 3-1 victory over the UNLV Rebels, the Cougars had a feeling their season was going to grind to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The following day, the final series meeting scheduled against UNLV was canceled due to rain and unplayable field conditions, which turned out to be a precursor to what was to come as the rest of the season was axed shortly thereafter.

“The main thing I remember is how happy the team was (during the final practice) because I kind of had an idea we were about to get shut down,” head coach Todd Whitting said during Thursday’s Coaches Caravan Zoom video call with fans.

Instead of going over a game plan for Dallas Baptist or focusing on a specific skill, Whitting decided to let the team have a home run derby.

Everyone, even the pitchers, got a chance to showcase their hitting power, an opportunity righties Carter Henry and Tanner Green did not let go to waste.

“Henry’s got a little bit of a pop, pretty athletic,” junior catcher Kyle Lovelace said. “Green put some good swings on the baseball.”

Whitting chimed in after Lovelace to playfully tease Carter on his hitting power because of the time he spent on the golf simulator at the Player Development Center.

Unfortunately for Lovelace, his team was not able to pull off the win in the home run exhibition.

“My team did not take the trophy on that one,” Lovelace said. “(The other team) had one extra person so they pretty much cheated. We’ll get them next year.”

A few days after their final practice, the players had to return to clean out their lockers and pack everything to go home as they adjusted to online classes and no longer had to be in the routine that a baseball campaign comes with.

Despite the rocky first 15 games of what turned out to be the entire season, the Cougars got a chance to end it with a fond memory.

“It was a fun day,” Whitting said. “We never really had a last team meeting and a goodbye, which I hate that, but it was out of our control.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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