Despite three players positive with the coronavirus, the Badlands Big Sticks will open their season on Friday night vs. the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs out of Minot.
In addition to missing the three positive players, several others are being held out and quarantined for precautionary measures.
“We should (have) 15 guys total off the top of my head (available this weekend),” head coach Billy Tomblin said. “We will have enough to play. We are about half and half.”
The Big Sticks are making sure that they are following all CDC guidelines and working with the health department to make sure that this issue does not linger further into the season.
All three of the players with COVID-19 brought it with them traveling to Dickinson in the last 10 days or so, and Tomblin emphasized that he hopes this issue doesn’t carry over throughout the season.
Badlands is doing everything they can to ensure that it doesn’t.
If everything goes according to plan, they shouldn’t be short staffed for long.
“Right now it sounds like most of the guys will be able to rejoin us next Tuesday. We have guys retesting and it is still up in the air,” Tomblin said. “The plan is to have almost everyone back (at the beginning part of next week).”
After a hectic weekend with everyone being tested, the Big Sticks resumed practice on Monday night after a few days off.
They practiced twice on Wednesday with live batting practice in the evening so that players could get some swings in off live pitches. Thursday will be a light day of preparation before opening day.
In addition, the Big Sticks did not get to hold their “controlled scrimmage” and community night against the Roughriders, which was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed and then ultimately cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation with the team.
Tomblin and the players, along with everyone at the Dickinson Baseball Club, were looking forward to gathering and celebrating all the teams in town.
“I’d like to think we will be alright (preparation wise),” he said. “I hate missing that because from my perspective that was disappointing because we didn’t get that opportunity with the community night.”
Even though the start to the season has been challenging before the first pitch has even been thrown, Tomblin and his team aren’t making excuses and they hope to play most of the season at full strength.