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Sports seasons come to abrupt halt

Happier times for Ahnie Jumper (sixth player from the left wearing catcher chest protector) and the Florida Gulf Coast University softball team as they celebrate a home run March 4 against the University of Florida in Gainesville. FGCU’s season stopped the following week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtney Culbreath/Florida Communications)

The sports seasons for several Seminole Tribe of Florida athletes in college and high school came to a sudden halt due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Winter sports that were in playoff mode have been canceled. Spring sports have either been suspended or canceled. Most college baseball and softball teams were at about the halfway point in their regular seasons.

Here’s a look at some Seminole athletes:

Ahnie Jumper (Florida Gulf Coast University softball): The junior catcher from Big Cypress had started 13 games and seen action in 22 games, compiling a .212 batting average with 7 hits in 33 trips; 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, 6 runs scored. The doubles came against Georgetown and Fordham. The Eagles had a 19-8 record. They had won six in a row until their final game before the shutdown, a 10-6 loss to Florida Atlantic on March 10. Their conference – the Atlantic Sun – has canceled all spring sports.

Cheyenne Nunez (University of South Carolina Upstate softball): The junior outfielder from Brighton started 3 games and appeared in 9 in her first season with USC Upstate. She batted .250 with 3 hits in 12 at-bats and scored 3 runs. The team finished the year with a 17-7 record. She had a walk, run scored and threw out a runner at home plate in the team’s final game, a 9-6 win against Stetson in DeLand, Florida. The school has canceled all its spring sports.

Jillian Rodriguez (Tennessee State University softball): The freshman outfielder from Immokalee appeared in 12 games with no starts. She was 0-for-2 with a walk and scored two runs. The team had a 7-11 record. The school announced March 13 an “indefinite suspension” of all athletics. Its conference – the Ohio Valley Conference – has canceled all athletic competitions through the end of the academic year.

Sean Osceola (Pasco-Hernando State College baseball): The sophomore right-handed pitcher from Brighton had a 1-0 record in six appearances, five of which were starts. He had a 4.13 ERA in 24 innings with 16 strikeouts. Pasco-Hernando, which reached the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series last season, had a 17-7 record. The team was on a hot streak at the time of the cancellation, having won seven in a row and scoring 14 or more runs in five of those wins. Osceola notched the win March 10 in a 14-8 victory against Eastern Gateway Community College when he scattered five hits and fanned four in 5.2 innings. His longest outing came March 1 when he pitched 7.1 innings and struck out 7 in a 5-4 loss to the University of Tampa B team. In that game, Osceola, who rarely bats, notched a hit in three at-bats. All sports at the school have been canceled for the rest of the spring.

Trevor Thomas (Warner University baseball): The junior outfielder from Brighton had a .268 batting average with 11 hits in 41 at-bats. He also had 13 walks and scored 11 runs. He notched two doubles against Montreat (North Carolina) on Feb. 2. He also had a 3-for-3 game against Grand View (Iowa) on Feb. 6. Warner had a 14-19 record when its season was canceled.

• On the high school level, COVID-19 brought an end to another outstanding season for Oklahoma girls basketball defending state champion Anadarko, which includes junior starting guard Lexi Foreman. Anadarko had reached the state quarterfinals before play was halted. The Oklahoma high school sports governing body announced March 25 that the tournament was canceled. Anadarko finished with a 26-1 record.

• Lincoln High School senior Tyler Hiatt (non-Tribal member), who is the son of Stephanie Bowers Hiatt and grandson of Stephen Bowers, was preparing to defend his South Dakota state titles in shot put and discus this spring. High school sports in the state are postponed until at least May 3, according to a statement from the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

The baseball season for Warner University’s Trevor Thomas, of the Brighton Reservation, came to an end when the school canceled its spring sports due to COVID-19. (Photo Warner University)
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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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