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Local pitching standouts adapt with sports on pause

Mead’s Nick Jacobs and Fairview’s Greysen Carter await a season in jeopardy

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As the coronavirus continues its besiege, there still is a kind of baseball being played in our hometowns.

There’s still baseball for Fairview’s Greysen Carter, the prized junior Vanderbilt pitching prospect with a fastball that has touched 95 MPH.

He just takes his windup in his basement.

Here, there’s no catcher calling signs. No batters. And “home plate” is, well, more of just a net or target against one of the walls.

But on days he doesn’t get out to a nearby field to play toss with his dad, it’s something, at least.

“Just try to work with what we have and make the best of it,” he said.

The outlook of having high school baseball this season continued to fade earlier this week with the Colorado High School Activities Association pushing the suspension of spring sports from April 6 to April 18 at the earliest.

The setback was another example of what a country looks like “closed”, following the state’s decision Monday to close dining at restaurants, going to the movies and the gyms.

The blowback has put many hourly workers out of work in an effort to socially distance as the virus continues to spread. It has closed down schools and kept the professional sports world on a hiatus that appears for the long haul.

Mead High School's Nick Jacobs delivers ...
Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com
Mead High School’s Nick Jacobs delivers a pitch during a 2019 spring game against Holy Family at Mead High School.

Mead’s Nick Jacobs does his best to cope as the country battles against what the U.S. president called an “invisible enemy” on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

Committed to pitch at the Air Force Academy next year, Jacobs, a senior, said he’s still throwing and keeping his arm in shape. He just has to adapt like everyone else.

On some days he goes to his backyard with some baseballs and measures out the regulation 60-feet, six inches from the spot he throws, to his mark, which in this case is a portion of the yard’s surrounding wire fence.

There, he takes his stance on just some grass and said he almost feels like he’s atop a mound because of the slope of the yard. Sometimes his pitches go through the fence and he has to jump out into the greenbelt behind his house to retrieve it.

A couple other days a week, he’s able to go to his baseball academy and throw with his pitching coach.

“We’re all just really hoping for the best and hoping we can have this season,” he said. “If it got cancelled completely the whole team would be pretty upset.”

He already knows that feeling, and so does Carter.

Both were on teams still in the mix for a state title in basketball when the tournaments were called off the night before their respective semifinals contests.

Jacobs was a starter for Mead, which was riding a 25-game winning streak coming into Class 4A’s final two rounds. It’d been hard to argue that the Mavericks were anything but an undeniable favorite as their style of play overmatched nearly every team on their schedule.

Carter, a breakout star for Fairview, helped the Knights win the Front Range League for a third straight year. Carter, Jalen Page and a strong cast then inched ever closer to the 5A prize.

“Of course, we were upset, but it’s out of our control and it’s for the better of us, keeping us safe,” Jacobs said, differing from some of the angry responses from parents and players affected following CHSAA’s announcement late Thursday night.

“It does stink,” he added, “especially for the five seniors who have been working for this opportunity since freshman year. But there isn’t much we can do about it. We just got to keep moving forward.”

Carter said: “I really feel like we could have gone all the way and won the state championship. For seniors Jalen (Page) and Mark (O’Neill), I know this was their last chance to get that state title and I know they’re down. And I am, too.”

All they can is adapt to a threat that goes unseen. For now, they choose to play out of sight.