COS Eagles baseball looks towards the future

Bill Choy
COS pitcher Braxton Barnes, a Weed High School graduate, gets ready to throw a pitch during a game earlier this season.                                              Photo by Dave Sjostedt

College of the Siskiyous head baseball coach Nick Thielman believes there are bright days ahead for the program after the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic last month.

“Things didn’t work out the way everyone wanted,” he said, adding there was a silver lining to having the season end so abruptly.

A positive from this situation is that it appears that the California Community College Athletic Association will grant spring athletes one more year of eligibility, which means the seven sophomores on the COS roster can return for another year.

This would be a positive “do-over” for the players that choose to return to COS, Thielman said.

“The door is open for all of them to return, which is exciting,” he said.

At this point, coach Thielman said the players are weighing their options, with several receiving interest from four-year schools. At this time, only one player for sure will not return next year. Pitcher RJ Forbus signed with NAIA school Kansas Wesleyan back in early March.

While Theilman said he would, of course, love to have Forbus back, he said that RJ is ready for the next level and believes the school and program is the right fit for him.

“They now can take their time and make sure a school and program is 100 percent the right fit for them before making a decision,” he said.” This decision expands their options since they have the choice of returning here for one more year.”

Thielman said this gives the players a great chance to take their time and decide if the school or schools that offer them a spot on their team is the right fit for them, from academics to the school environment.

With the option of returning for another year at COS now on the table, he said, the players will not feel like they have to rush into signing with a team if they feel it is not quite the right fit.

If a player decides to move on, Thielman said he entirely is behind their decision and said a primary goal of the program is to prepare players that come through the COS baseball program is to be ready for the next level.

He believes that the majority of the players will return for one more year at COS. He said these players have enjoyed their time at the school and have formed close bonds with those on the team and the COS community.

Thielman added that another year at COS could also help the players “improve their stock,” and continue to become better as baseball players.

He said the sophomore players were disappointed that they did not have a chance to compete what they finished,

Thielman said this year's sophomores were key parts of the process of rebuilding the program. To potentially have some or the majority of them back next year would certainly be a positive boost for the Eagles.

The Eagles last games turned out to be two doubleheader losses at Shasta College in Redding on March 8.

On Thursday, March 12, the squad was already on a bus about to leave the campus shortly to play in games at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, when COS athletic director Dennis Roberts told Thielman there was a good chance that games could be called off for the foreseeable future and the team should wait a little bit before leaving.

It was a wise choice, as the games, and eventually, the season was called off. COS, which had a number of freshmen on the squad ended the season 9-15 overall.

“I'm really proud of how my guys handled the situation,” head coach Nick Thielman said. “This was a situation no one can be prepared for. it's unprecedented. They were disappointed, but they adapted."