Valley City State cancels softball, baseball seasonsThe flooding that caused the evacuation of Valley City also forced Valley City State University to cancel its baseball and softball seasons Wednesday.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The flooding that caused the evacuation of Valley City also forced Valley City State University to cancel its baseball and softball seasons Wednesday.
While spring semester classes at the university will continue via the Internet, students won’t be returning to campus.
One of the main reasons for this, beyond the flooding, is the lack of transportation capabilities in the city. Ten of Valley City’s 11 bridges were shut down as of Wednesday afternoon. The only one still usable is the bridge on Eighth Avenue which goes to VCSU’s Osman Fieldhouse.
“We’re down to only one lane of traffic,” VCSU athletic director B.J. Pumroy said. “Basically our whole lane of traffic to campus is one long roundabout.”
Not only that, but VCSU softball coach Chad Slyter said the outfield of the team’s field has been bulldozed to help shore up a breached levee, leaving it unplayable.
“It is what it is,” said Slyter, who was preparing to evacuate his home on Wednesday. “At this point, all the decisions are beyond softball. They’re doing it for the safety of the town and the students.”
Pumroy said despite the cancelation of the seasons, there is a silver lining.
The NAIA has informed VCSU that it intends to grant each player a hardship redshirt season because of the situation.
“At the same time, it’s still disappointing because you lose a year of preparation,” Slyter said.
Both teams end their seasons sitting at the bottom of the Dakota Athletic Conference.
The Vikings’ baseball team ends their season at 9-12 overall and 2-6 in the conference. The softball team finishes with a 4-14 record and a 0-5 mark in the DAC.
VCSU baseball coach Casey Olney said finding consistency was difficult as players were often pulled from practice to help the city sandbag in preparation for the flooding.
“It’s been a frustrating spring and this is kind of the capper to the whole deal,” said Olney, who was one of Valley City’s 3,500 residents who were asked to voluntarily evacuate.
Olney and Slyter said they informed their players about the cancelation Wednesday shortly after university officials announced that students wouldn’t be back at campus this spring.
“They’re not happy, but I think they understand,” Olney said. “If you’ve been in Valley City for the last three weeks, you understand the severity of the situation.”