The Connetquot baseball team was placed in a 10-day quarantine on June 1 and forced to postpone its next five scheduled games.
The Thunderbirds currently are in second place in Suffolk’s Conference III with a 10-3 record.
"We have a COVID-19 coordinator here in our district and she’s been outstanding in keeping our student-athletes safe," said Peter Melore, the director of athletics for the Connetquot Central School District. "We haven’t had to quarantine too many teams since January. She made the difficult decision to shut down our baseball team in the best interests of their safety and by following the Suffolk County Department of Health guidelines."
Connetquot will not be able to practice or gather before June 11 when they need to be cleared to come back and participate by the Suffolk County Department of Health. The games postponed were against Northport, Whitman, Half Hollow Hills East, Copiague and Smithtown East.
"We’re back on the field June 11," Melore said. "As of today, we were told to follow the Sunday makeup rule. We have a rainout against Whitman and that’s already on the schedule for June 13. Could that change and another makeup game be added by Section XI between June 11 and 12? it could, but we don’t know. We’ll follow the rule where you make the games up in the order you lost them."
Ryan Cox, the director of athletics for the Patchogue-Medford School District and chairman of the Suffolk County High School Baseball Coaches Association, said the quarantine of Connetquot presents scheduling and seeding issues.
"It’s an unprecedented situation for all of us," Cox said. "The circumstances may pose a challenge for other teams in the conference who may miss important games. Connetquot was having a very good season. They have five games to make up which will impact the playoffs and where teams will be seeded. Hopefully, they can figure out how to play some of those regular-season games when they are cleared to return."
Connetquot could have June 11, 12 and 13 to play makeup games if Section XI allows it. The playoffs are scheduled for June 15 and 16 with the Suffolk championships on June 18. The Long Island baseball championships are on June 20.
"Connetquot could potentially miss five games, so we’ll leave it up to Ryan Cox and the baseball committee on what to recommend to the Section XI seeding committee for the playoffs," said Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI, which governs all of Suffolk’s school sports. "We’re moving in the right direction for sure, but COVID is certainly not gone. We have to continue to be prudent and diligent in all of our safety protocols. We’re still following all the guidelines set forth by the Suffolk County Department of Health. Hopefully, it’s leading us towards normalcy in the fall."
Cox said the weather over the next few days will dictate the makeup schedule at the end of next week. He added that giving every team in the county an 18-game schedule in a condensed time period increased the difficulty of scheduling makeup dates.
"We wanted every team top to bottom to play a full schedule," Cox said. "These spring programs lost last spring in its entirety, and we just wanted to do right by everyone. The Connetquot quarantine is tough. We have bubble teams to try and make the playoffs in Smithtown East and Whitman and they still have Connetquot on the schedule. And you have to be a .500 team or in the top six in the conference to qualify for the playoffs."