FARGO — Fargo Davies senior Zach Kluvers wasn’t surprised earlier this week when he heard that American Legion Baseball cancelled its regional tournaments and World Series for the upcoming summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That didn’t make the announcement sting any less for Kluvers, who played shortstop for a Fargo Post 2 team that made the American Legion World Series championship game last August.
“I kind of expected it,” Kluvers said. “It’s hard news to know how far you went last year and you’re hoping to make a push at it to hopefully go again this year.”
Kluvers has signed to play NCAA Division I baseball at North Dakota State next spring. His baseball career has been put on hold with high school baseball suspended indefinitely and the upcoming American Legion season in jeopardy.
“It’s tough to especially not have your senior year of high school baseball,” Kluvers said. “You just wish you were playing sports. There’s not even sports on TV so you can't even do anything there either.”
North Dakota recently cancelled its Legion baseball season, but decided to revisit that decision on April 20. That state still could have a regular season and state tournament even though the regionals and the World Series have been canceled. Kluvers would welcome the chance to get back on the diamond this summer, even for an abbreviated Legion season.
“It would still be fun to play in the summer,” Kluvers said. “When it starts to get warm, you start to turn on the baseball feeling. If you can at least get games in or have a little bit of fun with buddies, it’s always a great time.”
Davies senior Cole Hage is also going to play Division I baseball, having signed with Columbia University, which plays in The Ivy League. Hage also played for Post 2 last summer and likely had an abrupt end to his high school basketball career.
Davies was hours away from playing in the North Dakota Class A boys basketball semifinals when the tournament was suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns.
“It’s been tough because the thought just stays in my head about state basketball and not being able to finish it,” Hage said. “Not being able to play spring baseball, too, it’s pretty boring. There’s nothing really to do.”
Like Kluvers, Hage would like to get to play some baseball before he heads to Columbia, located in New York City, at the end of August.
“I really want to get back on the field. That was an amazing experience,” Hage said of last summer’s Post 2 season. “The memories and the fun you have with your friends is what makes the game so special. Not being able to have those memories anymore, makes it tough.”
New York City has been one of the hotspots for COVID-19 in the United States so Hage is concerned that could possibly push back the start of on-campus classes at Columbia next fall.
“I hope this pandemic doesn't lead on into the fall, too,” Hage said. “One of the best things about Columbia is it’s in New York City. It’s an awesome city and I want to be able to have those experiences.”
For Hage and Kluvers this is not how they envisioned preparing for their Division I baseball careers. They both have been doing their best to workout at home. Hage has been doing bodyweight strength exercises along with cardio. Kluvers said he has a “little cable home gym” in his basement. Both have also been getting outside to play catch and hitting off a batting tee to work on their swings.
“We’re kind of in lockdown right now, we’re just trying to stay at home,” Hage said.
Kluvers said if the Legion season does end up being cancelled, that makes last summer’s run to the World Series championship game even more special.
“That group of guys will always be in touch and I have a great relationship with all of them,” Kluvers said. “You can’t describe how great that season was. You wish you could repeat that. Especially now, when you think about it, we went out with a bang. If we don’t have a season, that’s a great way to end.”