2020 was a year full of hardships for everybody, but it was especially difficult for senior athletes who had lost their last year of college sports to the pandemic. Then, in October of 2020, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) granted an extra year of eligibility for all fall, winter, and spring sport athletes in the Division III category to make up for their lost year.
Liam Cammall, a fifth-year returning baseball pitcher, is taking full advantage of this extra year of eligibility.
“When I applied to graduate last year, it said that I was ineligible to graduate and I needed two more undergraduate credits,” said Cammall. “I decided to take leave of absence in the fall and come back and use my last two credits to play baseball and graduate.”
Fifth- year athletes are also eligible for a free year of tuition, so Cammall applied and was granted that. Since he is taking a leave of absence, he isn’t allowed to practice this fall with the rest of the team and use the university’s facilities. Instead, he is capitalizing on his time off from the team and spending his time at Driveline Baseball, a training facility in Kent, Wash.
Driveline trains college, high school, and professional players. As a pitcher, this practice is designed to increase Cammall’s velocity when he throws, with all of the latest and newest technology for training.
“Our goal is to put ourselves at the greatest advantage during the offseason,” he said.
When Cammall returns to the Pacific team this spring, it will look different than last year. During fall ball last year, in Fall 2020, athletes could only practice in groups of ten, and they stayed within those groups of ten because of the university protocols.
“Things look more back to normal now,” said Cammall. “They’ve been able to go out on the field for three weeks straight, play together, and this week they’re playing a junior college. People practicing now have a lot of positive things to say.”
The Pacific University baseball team plays Centralia College next on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 12 p.m. at the Chuck Bafaro Stadium. — Ella Cutter