New Hall-Dale varsity baseball coach Kyle Bishop stands at home plate on an otherwise empty home field Tuesday afternoon. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

There’s very little Katie McCabe would rather do today than get on the field with her Winslow High School girls lacrosse team. With the spring sports season a casualty of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, McCabe knows that’s impossible.

“I was very excited. I know some of the girls from coaching them in basketball,” McCabe said.

As athletes and families lament but understand the loss of the spring season, coaches like McCabe, who were set to make their varsity debut this spring, look forward to when they can finally coach their teams.

New Hall-Dale varsity baseball coach Kyle Bishop surveys an otherwise empty home field Tuesday afternoon. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“When we finally knew the season is null and void, that’s something we’ve never seen before,” said Don Theriault, who was set to be the new softball coach at Oak Hill. “A lot of these kids are being robbed. This is what needs to be done, but it’s abysmal.”

While disappointed they must wait to work with their teams, new coaches first thoughts are with their athletes.

“I’ve been more worried about the kids more than anything. This is a special time in their lives and everyone misses out on something,” said Hall-Dale baseball coach Kyle Bishop, who was set to take over the program this season after two years as an assistant coach. “The seniors don’t really get any closure, whether that’s with graduation, athletics and other special end-of-the-year events. The underclassmen miss out on a full season.”

McCabe inherits a team that in a few short years of existence became one of the top girls lacrosse programs in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference. The Black Raiders went 12-0 in the regular season last year, and with key players back, McCabe was eager to see the team continue to enjoy success.

“For me, it was a lot of training. A lot of work on the US Lacrosse website. It was a learning experience,” said McCabe, who will be the head field hockey coach at Messalonskee in the fall.

Theriault has coached for 14 years in youth sports and AAU, working in softball, soccer and basketball. Oak Hill’s junior varsity girls soccer and middle school girls basketball coach, Theriault said he’s coached many of the girls he expected on his softball roster in at least one of those sports.

“This is my first opportunity for a varsity position myself,” Theriault said. “I had them in rec (sports) and AAU in all three sports. A lot of these kids, they grow on you.”

Last season, Oak Hill won 13 games and reached the Class B South quarterfinals. Now in Class C South, Theriault felt the Raiders had the potential to be a sleeper in the region, despite big graduation losses from the 2019 squad.

Majestix field hockey coach Katie McCabe talks to a high school club team prior to a 2010 tournament at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. McCabe is the next winslow High School girls lacrosse coach. Contributed photo

“I was lucky enough to meet with the girls a month ago just to say hi. My seniors were excited, I only had three of them. I was curious to see how we’d be. We lost a lot of players. We had some juniors coming up who were going to get a chance to play. We had freshmen who would’ve made an impact, I guarantee it,” Theriault said.

At Hall-Dale, Bishop was set to lead a team ready to contend for the Class C title. The Bulldogs won the state championship in 2018, and won 12 games last season.

“I feel awful for everyone. I’m sure every coach in the state has the same sentiments,” Bishop said.

With no games to coach or practices to organize, the coaches are just trying to help their athletes cope with the unexpected loss of the season and everything that comes with it. At Winslow, families are organizing tributes to the seniors via social media, McCabe said. At Hall-Dale, the baseball team started a Twitter account on which it posts photos and tributes to the Class of 2020.

“The parents have been great. The parents really came together,” McCabe said.

“This is what’s going on around the whole country,” Theriault said. “At the end of the day, this just stinks.”

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