Playoff team

The Deacons celebrated a Home Talent Eastern Section playoff birth last season.

The 2020 Home Talent Baseball season is on hold right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but plans are in place to start July 4.

“It sucks because we don’t get to see any of the guys right now,” DeForest Deacon player-manager Taylor Mack said. “That is the hardest part, not being able to hang out with the team. The most you can do is throw a ball right now. Not playing has been difficult.”

The season was originally scheduled to begin at the end of April. After the Safer-at-Home order went into place, the start date was pushed back into May. It was then pushed back again to the middle of June before it was moved to July 4.

A full schedule of games, starting with the July 4 date, has not yet been released by the HTL Board. It will be an abbreviated schedule.

“I’m not sure yet what they are doing about the schedule,” Mack said. “I’m not sure how they will set it up.”

Teams normally play a 16-game regular-season schedule, but that will be shortened this year. It is possible they will combine sections and play each team once. There would then be an abbreviated postseason beginning Labor Day weekend.

“They will let us know more about the scheduling at a late date, but right now we are at a standstill,” Mack said. “They are still trying to figure things out. I would hate to be in their position, because it is a lot of work to reschedule.”

The Deacons have a lot of high hopes coming into the season after a playoff appearance last year.

“We are exciting about the season because we have some guys coming back who had moved away,” Mack said. “Evan Kohli and Andrew Wasmund are back and will help out our lineup, especially since it doesn’t look like Mike Johnson is coming back. That is a big void to fill, but they can do it.”

The Deacons have been keeping in touch as they practice social distancing. They have also been forced to train at home.

“We have been using an app to talk to each other,” Mack said. “You can’t go to a public park, so it makes it difficult to do much. You can throw but you can’t practice hitting unless you have a net.”

If the 2020 HTL season gets underway before the DeForest Area School District opens up its facilities, the Deacons may have to find a new place to play games. They play their home games at the high school.

“That is the big worry right now, that we might not be able to play at home,” Mack said. “They cannot let us play on the field if they are not off of lockdown. It could happen with other teams who play on high school fields. I could see games getting doubled up at fields that are not at a high school. It was going to be tough for us anyway, because the school district is doing construction at the high school.”

Last season, DeForest finished 10-6 in the Eastern Section to tie Montello for third place behind Sun Prairie (12-4) and Monona (11-5).

The Deacons were the fourth seed in the playoffs and lost 4-1 to top-seeded Sun Prairie in the opening round of the postseason.

“I felt like we had a really good team, but our pitching was not 100 percent there,” Mack said. “We had to throw a bunch of different guys on the mound. We didn’t have a lot of healthy arms. We had to pitch as a unit. As a whole, it was a good season because we made the playoffs, but at the end of the day, I felt we had a better team that should have made it farther.”

The Deacons have their annual golf outing scheduled for June 7 at Lake Windsor Country Club. They have not rescheduled at this time.

For more information on the HTL season, visit hometalent.org.

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