An empty Vic Napolitano Field at Pennsbury High school on Thursday after the PIAA canceled all spring sports. The PIAA's decision came hours after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf closed all school for the remainder of the academic year. (Kyle Franko/MediaNews Group Photo)

As far as Pennsylvania high school sports are concerned, what most everyone both feared and expected became official on Thursday afternoon, April 9.

After Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said all schools will be closed for the remainder of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the PIAA followed suit a few hours later by announcing the remainder of its winter as well as spring sports are canceled.

“Today’s decision by the PIAA Board of Directors was difficult for everyone,'' said PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert A. Lombardi. “We had maintained hope for a continuation of our winter championships and an abbreviated spring season to help bring a sense of normalcy to our communities.

“As we navigate through this difficult time we need to remember the lessons that interscholastic athletics has taught us: cooperation, patience, sacrifice, responsibility, respect and perseverance. At present, 17 other state high school associations have ended their sports seasons in similar fashion."

When the halt to Pennsylvania scholastic athletics occurred in the middle of the March, the hope was it might be able to complete its state championship tournaments in sports such as basketball.

There was also the hope that although they were going to get off to a late start, spring sports might be able to take place with drastically reduced schedules.

Now, neither will happen and it will be particularly difficult for teams that had loaded with seniors.

"I feel really bad for the seniors," said longtime Pennsbury softball coach Frank McSherry, who was expected to have a banner season after returning many of the starters from a team that went 19-5, won the SONL championship and earned the No. 3 ranking in the area. "I was hoping against hope, but it just wasn't meant to be."

Said Conwell-Egan coach Sandy Hart, "I'm sad for our senior players; it will be difficult for them. But there are things more important in life than softball. That's what this will help them find out."

Although the NJSIAA has not yet made an announcement, it wouldn't come as a surprise if it reached a similar decision shortly. Indeed, there's already speculation the fall sports also might be impacted.

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