MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Several Grand Strand sports teams are pausing, or stopping altogether, as coronavirus cases keep rising in Horry County.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were supposed start a four-game series against the Salem Red Sox on Tuesday. The final game against Salem would have been capped off with a fireworks show on the night before Independence Day.
None of that will happen and the coronavirus has now grounded the Pelicans until next year. Instead of Chicago Cubs prospects striking out batters, TicketReturn.com Field has been the home of COVID-19 testing events by Tidelands Health this year.
That won’t change anytime soon, as Minor League Baseball’s season was officially canceled Tuesday. In a statement, Pelicans president Ryan Moore says the team will still have “safe, engaging, fan-centric events” at the ballpark this year.
Myrtle Beach High School’s football team has to pause getting ready for the Seahawks’ season, after spending several weeks conditioning.
“It’s a little bit more different, the fact that we have to stay in pods, position groups can’t practice together,” said senior wide receiver JJ Jones.
Junior quarterback Ryan Burger says he was sad to hear Horry County Schools will suspend football conditioning on Thursday as the area’s coronavirus spike continues.
“I’m not going to be able to be with my teammates again, really for a while after this week, but I think the county (school district) is really doing what’s right, especially with July 4th coming up and all the tourists are going to be down here,” said Burger.
HCS says no athletes have tested positive for COVID-19. The district also says it wants to be proactive and will monitor conditions to see when workouts can resume.
Jones, who has committed to play at the University of North Carolina, says his teammates are keeping each other accountable to prevent spreading the virus, especially so the Seahawks can try to return to their third-straight state title game.
“We got a group chat,” he said. “We talk every day about staying safe, wearing your mask in public, trying to be in the house as much as possible and just staying clean and staying protected at all times.”
The Pelicans have also canceled a fireworks celebration at their ballpark Friday night, while Tidelands Health will host two more free coronavirus testing events there in July.