O’FALLON, Mo. (NCC News) — Luke Lampros knew what was coming when his coach boarded the team bus last March. Minutes later he and the rest of his college teammates found out their season was over.
“When our season got canceled due to COVID-19 it was pretty shocking to say the least.” Lampros said. “We didn’t even really hear about it at the start of the year, and then, not even a month later bam, you know, shut down.”
Four months later, Lampros is back on the diamond as part of the CarShield Collegiate League. The six-team league comes as a temporary replacement for a separate league canceled due to COVID. Will Conerly works as one of the league’s play by play broadcasters and signed on from the beginning.
“Originally I was gonna work with the [O’Fallon] Hoots and the Prospect League,” Conerly said. “and that got canceled so they started their own league.”
Conerly and his classmate, Shane Hulsey, built up the league’s social media and YouTube channel in a matter of weeks. Making sure it was operational for the league’s July 1st start date.
“The most fun part about it is that there’s an opportunity to have a lot of stress.” Conerly said. “because there’s no textbook on this. I mean this is all from the ground level.”
The fun isn’t limited to them, however. The players have been able to bridge the gap between seasons while competing against other college players as well as some minor league prospects. It’s just one quality of the league that has Lampros feeling fortunate to be playing.
“We’re pretty lucky that we get to do that,” Lampros said. “especially after losing our season, you know this kind of fills that void.”
A void that’s filled not only within the players but their families. Some of whom Conerly and Hulsey say will be watching from afar all summer long.
“For instance, last night. Nick Neville. His mom was messaging us and she said she was in tears when he hit that home run.” Hulsey said. “One of the best parts of this job is sharing their joy. Their love for the game.”