When it was announced recently that the 2020 Havre de Grace Little League season was canceled, there were hundreds of players, managers, coaches, umpires and fans who were sadly disappointed.
Maybe none more than the Weitzel family; mom Amy, and daughters Sarah, 12, and Emma, 9.
That’s because 2020 was the year, the season, that Amy, also a manager, and her daughters were to be on the same team, the Tides softball team of the league‘s Major Division.
“This is the only time I’d be able to manage them on the same team, that I know of,” Amy said last week on a family trip to the beach. Oddly enough, the trip to the beach at that point was most likely made possible because of the lost season.
“No, we wouldn’t be driving to the beach, we’d probably be driving to Elkton or North East or Chesapeake City or wherever the All-Star tournament was,” Amy said.
But, no, there are no All-Star Tournaments to be had.
Just the memory of a season lost almost before it started and again, the season that allowed Amy and Sarah and Emma the chance to play together for possibly the only time in the Little League process.
The Tides had one full practice and part of another before the coronavirus and the restrictions took over. The team was on the field when the phone call came with the news; shut it down.
“I think I miss the most of getting the chance to see the two of them compete together and to support each other on the field and during practice and to just see them have all those great moments together on the same team,” Amy said. “Emma is used to cheering for Sarah, watching from the stands because she’s the younger one and Sarah was able to come to a couple games last year and cheer Emma from the stands, but they’ve never been able to be there for each other in the same dugout and you know, talk each other up and high-five each other if someone gets a big hit or things like that. I was really looking forward to seeing them be that way together on the same team.”
This was Amy’s ninth year as a manager, but the ages of her kids are just far enough apart that it allows one year together in this division and an outside chance of it happening again in the Senior Division.
At this point, there are two teams in the Senior Division, which is where Sarah will move up and play in next season. Amy will still have three years with Emma on the Tides, making no guarantee of a managing spot in three more years
“I was kind of looking forward to it because I was to be with some of the younger kids that I could actually help teach them, just make them better,” Sarah said. “It would be fun with little kids because I always helped out at my sister’s practices.”
Emma, who was playing her first season with player pitch, said, “I actually kind of miss, because I was really looking forward to showing the new kids how to play softball. I kind of miss doing that and I was super excited to try being in All-Stars.”
Amy was looking forward to seeing Emma with a chance on All-Stars. “I was also looking forward to Emma possibly being on an All-Star team for the first time because at age 9 she would have been eligible for the 9-10 All-Stars,” Amy said. Amy was able to coach Sarah twice in 9-10 All-Stars.
Having siblings on the same team just makes it easier for everybody. They’re at the same practices and games.
Even without a season, the work at the Weitzel house was still happening. “I had the girls out in the yard, we were still practicing pitching, we were hitting off the tee, we were doing batting practice in the yard, we were throwing the ball around, we were doing everything to keep the arms loose and to keep the body conditioned to play in the event that we would be able to play,” Amy said. “The girls, every day, were like, you think we’ll get to play?, and it’s devastating for them because school was canceled, and then Girl Scouts were canceled and then having softball canceled, too, and not being able to see friends or family, it’s really hard.”
Amy, player agent for Rookie and Minor Division baseball, is a member of the league’s board of directors. She has also umpired.
“We had a really amazing group, a really nice group of girls and I had a lot of talent on my team,” Amy said. “I was so excited to see where we could go, it’s a bummer.”