BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – “It was kind of an all of a sudden type thing,” said Bluefield College baseball head coach Mike White. “We were actually on the bus getting ready to load up here and head to Tennessee Wesleyan when we got the word to stop where we were at.”
Like most Spring sports teams, Bluefield College baseball was blindsided by the coronavirus pandemic. When the remainder of the season was cancelled midway through, senior players were worried they had played their last college baseball.
“I’m trying to pursue a career in professional baseball, so I was kind of scared, in a way,” said senior third baseman Ozzie Millet.
But then, the NAIA granted all players an extra year of eligibility, giving the Rams and other programs across the country a rare group of fifth or even sometimes sixth year seniors.
“I was on the fence about whether to come back or not,” said outfielder Andreas Holtzer. “But, I ultimately decided to come back because I’ve got one year left. I’m not going to be playing this my whole life so I might as well take advantage of it while I can.”
This offseason, outfielder Nate Cobb decided to transfer to Bluefield College from a D-2 school in Ohio. He’s using his extra year of eligibility to play more baseball and also enrich himself academically.
“Baseball has taken me so many places, given me so many opportunities. And I thought it was a great opportunity to come here and get my masters and get a nice scholarship,” said Cobb.
While it wasn’t the college baseball experience they envisioned, adversity brought the Rams’ senior class closer together. And as they return to the diamond this season, they have new outlooks on playing the game they love.
“I have to take every game like it is my last. Because if it could happen again because COVID hasn’t really disappeared. So every time I go out on the field, I just know that I’m blessed,” said Millet.