Rutherford County prep sports shut down through at least April 3

Spring sports in Rutherford County are in shutdown mode until at least April 3 due to the COVID-19 virus.

The Rutherford County Board of Education on Monday said county schools will remained closed through April 3. Murfreesboro City Schools also will be closed through April 3.

That means all high school athletic programs will not be allowed to meet, practice or play as it is essentially a dead period.

Rutherford County Athletic Director Tim Tackett also said the shutdown of sports could exceed April 3.

"It's a bit crazy as we can't have any contact with our players or open our facility or anything," Stewarts Creek baseball coach Mike Bartlett said. "I told our kids to keep working out. Most of them have gym memberships and there are plenty of places to get work it.

"We're all in the same boat, but I do want to say it's the right thing to do. We got to play Friday, and at the start of the game it was the weirdest thing I've been a part of. I had no words afterward about what the future lies, and it was just a hard conversation."

Along with supporting the decision to shut down sports, Bartlett added it was expected.

"We thought it would happen. That's the natural progression from everything else at every level shutting down,” he said. “It's the first time I haven't worked as a player or a coach in a uniform in 51 years. Hopefully it's something we can put in perspective. It's hard, but there are a lot more important things than baseball."

Stewarts Creek opened the season by sweeping three games over La Vergne, as did Blackman over Oakland and Siegel against Riverdale. Rockvale took two of three games from Smyrna.

Siegel's softball team, which was last year's state runner-up and returns a bulk of its lineup, is off to a 4-0 start, including 2-0 in district play.

"We've just as a team talked about that we have no control over it," Siegel coach Shawn Middleton said. "It really hurts for everybody's seniors, and we have one (Sophie Golliver). It's unheard of territory.

"There's no practice, no team bonding. The problem is when you're playing well you don't want something like this to happen. We were 2-0 in the district and 4-0 and clicking. It's unchartered territory. I've been coaching 25 years and have no experience to draw upon. Your season is at a halt, but there aren’t any sports, anywhere going on right now."

Middleton said he told his players to work out on their own until, or if, the season resumes.

"They're members of gyms, and I just told them to do their routine. They go to hitting coaches and several have batting cages in their back yard. We as coaches can't say ‘be there at 7:30’. I just told them that the work you put in now we will see when you come back to us. It's not mandatory, but understand that if you're working hard it's going to show up like the first games of the season."

There is certainly a possibility that most, if not all, of the regular season will not be played. However, it's also possible a district tournament, which would be a blind draw, could be held in each sport in May, followed by regions, sectionals and Spring Fling.

However, it will continue to be a wait-and-see situation.

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