The PA Pels baseball travel ball program successfully completed its summer season earlier this month, which proved to be a bright spot in the dark cloud surrounding high school sports now.
Travel ball isn’t sanctioned by the LHSAA and the team composed of mostly Port Allen High junior varsity players, finished the summer with an 11-2 record in the league made up of three other teams from Pointe Coupee recreation, Erwinville recreation and Westside baseball.
“It was amazing,” said Port Allen Pelicans coach Doyle Magee. “It started out completely chaotic. Everybody came together to form the league and play each other. We were thankful to be able to play. If we wouldn’t have had the summer program, what would they have been doing?”
Port Allen’s high school season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic with the team sporting a 7-2 record.
“It was upsetting when school let out because we were having a really good season, but during the summer it was pretty much all the same people,” said junior Travis Salemi. “We really made it work and had fun.”
For some of the travel ball players, the summer season was a way to continue the momentum gained from the lost spring season but also prepare for what’s ahead in 2021.
“During school, it was kind of sad that everything shutdown, but coming back out here for the summer to just pick everything back up and practice more was great,” said Dimitri Thompson, who is entering his senior year. “We wanted to have fun and get ready for high school.”
The team produced positive results, but it was more about the love of the game and camaraderie, according to catcher Logan Magee.
“We were all just having fun,” he said. “We didn’t really care about winning. We did a little bit, but it was mainly about having fun and just playing baseball. Not everybody had that chance to play baseball over the summer.”
Thompson, who is one of the newer players, said the summer season helped forge a brotherhood.
“They became like brothers to me and over the summer it was pretty good,” he said. “It wasn’t really about the games; it was just us playing and having fun and everybody pretty much came together over the summer.”
The pandemic didn’t affect gameplay over the summer, but it did prevent teams from shaking hands after the game.
As of now, the faith of prep sports this fall is still uncertain because of the pandemic and Doyle Magee acknowledged that there were problems that came about over the course of summer. However, it was all worth it in the end, according to the coach.
“Were there challenges? Yes, but was it worth it every time they stepped on the field? Absolutely,” he said.