COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - UCCS baseball was off to its best start in program history, 11-6 through their first 17 games of the 2020 season. Then, a possible dream season was cut short.
Through March 8th, the Mountain Lions were on a roll, winning nine consecutive games and sweeping their first RMAC opponent. Momentum was in favor of UCCS heading into conference play, before learning the NCAA spring sports season was postponed, and eventually canceled due to growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We were very excited about this year," Mountain Lions head coach Dave Hajek said. "An exciting year that now will never be."
Expectations were high heading into the season for UCCS. 2020 was only the fourth year of baseball at UCCS, and freshman that had arrived for the school's inaugural season were now seniors. Many who were hoping for a breakout year (and possibly catching the eye of MLB scouts) were doubly disappointed.
"I didn't really know what to do," UCCS shortstop Matt McDermott recalled about hearing the season was canceled. "I couldn't turn on the tv or watch any sports games. It's your life for the last 18 years, and now you just don't know where to go from there."
The seven seniors on UCCS will have to decide whether to move on from the team, or return for the 2021 school year. That option is available, as the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility for spring athletes due to the cancellation of the season.
If nothing else, it's a cautionary tale about how quickly things can change.
"This is one of those occasions you tell the young ones about and just say..'don't take things for granted, cause it can be taken from you at any moment,'" McDermott said.