AUBURN (CBS) – It was a disappointing end to the school year for many Auburn High School athletes who had their baseball season cut short due to the coronavirus crisis. But their mothers were determined to do something to celebrate the team.
“It’s sad because everyone was looking forward to it,” said Auburn High School senior Nigel Belgrade.
Belgrade is one of about 20 players who have been playing baseball together since they were just five years old.
“It’s very emotional,” Belgrade’s mother Arlene said. “We hate to see it end this way.”
That’s why their families wanted to turn things around by organizing a car parade around the town of Auburn.
Sheila Gowaski, whose son is on the team, said it’s a way to celebrate the team – even if their season was cut short.
“They’ve had a special bond for so many years. Having their season get taken away – it’s tough, but their memories can’t be taken away,” she said.
Her son, senior Aiden Gowaski, said it was devastating to see his high school baseball career end so prematurely. He had been working his whole life to get to this point.
“We were looking forward to something in the back of our mind, knew it was never going to happen,” he said.
In lieu of a fitting season end, the families decorated about 20 cars with banners and balloons in team colors as a way to celebrate. The parade stopped at the homes of their coaches, and ended by picking up hats to cap off their senior year.
“It was definitely emotional – we’ve been waiting since they were six years old for their senior year,” said Assistant Baseball Coach Dalton Goodwich. “They won the state title as freshman, so this was going to be their year. Seeing them come up to the lawn was emotional.”
After weeks of social distancing, the parade was a welcomed celebration.
“It’s great, honestly, to see everyone and their families,” Aiden said.
Even if it was a little bittersweet.
“It was good to see them, but I wish we could’ve seen them on the field and not here,” Coach Goodwich said.