Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Solano to launch late spring slate this week

Baseball team will play Sierra College on Saturday

- By Matt O'Donnell modonnell@timesheral­donline.com

When the Solano Community College baseball team throws its first pitch on Saturday, it will officially be the top of the first. In more ways than one.

The Falcons will return to competitio­n for the first time since last spring. The school “opted in” for late spring sports — baseball, softball, swimming and tennis — in February as athletes came back to campus the week of March 1.

Solano is testing athletes twice a week, even though California Community College Athletic Associatio­n has recommende­d testing once per week.

“The athletes and coaches were very happy to be back on campus,” said Solano Athletic Director Erik Visser. “I’m very pleased with the compliance on COVID protocols as far as social distancing and wearing masks. I’m very pleased with our progress in this phased-in approach.”

The baseball team will host Sierra College of Rocklin in a doublehead­er on Saturday. There will be many more doublehead­ers this season than a usual year to cut back on travel and potential exposure.

Visser said the baseball team’s schedule will be a mix of Bay Valley Conference opponents like Marin, coupled with Big-8 Conference teams like Diablo Valley, Santa Rosa and Sierra.

Some of the Big 8 schools like American River, Sacramento City and Cosumnes River are not allowed to play outside their district so there was a need to combine the two leagues.

Solano’s softball team is scheduled to begin the season next Wednesday. Similar to baseball, the softball team’s schedule will be a mix of BVC opponents like Mendocino and Yuba and Big 8 schools like Diablo Valley, Sierra and Santa Rosa. The Falcons also are scheduled to play Academy of Art of San Francisco —

a Division II team that is coached by ex-Falcon Nikki Gentile.

“All of the seasons will be complete by the end of May,” Visser said. “There will be no regional or state postseason­s this year.”

Swimming is set to start on April 16 and tennis is slated for April 24. All schedules can change

depending on a variety of factors.

Visser said the school had some attrition regarding number of athletes compared to a typical year, but he said Solano was fortunate to field teams while others in Northern California were not.

Fall and winter sports like volleyball, soccer and basketball are allowed to start conditioni­ng next week.

Even though a number of high schools have allowed limited fan attendance, Visser said the school is only permitting essential personnel — athletes, coaches, staff and officials.

That, however, could change depending on Solano County’s tier (currently in the red) or California Department of Public Health recommenda­tions, he said.

“Our main priority right now is to keep things safe for our participan­ts,” Visser said. “They’ve been waiting a long time to play.”

To check on Solano schedules for the aforementi­oned sports, see https:// www.solanoathl­etics.com/ landing/index

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 ?? CHRISRILEY—TIMES-HERALDFILE ?? Brandon Herter takes on a hitting skills station during Solano Community College baseball in 2020. The Falcons will return to action on Saturday against Sierra.
CHRISRILEY—TIMES-HERALDFILE Brandon Herter takes on a hitting skills station during Solano Community College baseball in 2020. The Falcons will return to action on Saturday against Sierra.

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