Oswego State Baseball player Casey Gruarin should have been ending his senior year season as a Laker, rather he is home finishing finals, reminiscing a season that ended days after it began.
Casey Gruarin is a Niagara Falls, NY native who transferred into Oswego after earning his associates degree at SUNY Niagara. The senior was upset to see his already short experience at Oswego become even shorter.
“We saw sports getting canceled all around us in the country and we knew it was only a matter of time,” Said Gruarin, “Personally, knowing this beforehand and not having it be a surprise allowed me to really prepare myself for the fact that my senior season was over.”
Even though this was a tough situation for senior athletes, Gruarin respectively understood why the decision had to be made.
“College athletics is very low on the scale of importance when it comes to a global pandemic,” Said Gruarin, “In the bigger picture, keeping people safe and preventing more tragedies from the virus was much more important than the season continuing.”
The Lakers were off to a strong start with a 6-3 record and getting ready to put all their training to work in Lexington, SC for an annual spring break tournament. The news of the cancellation of their season came only a couple days before they were supposed to leave. During the nine Laker matchups this season, Gruarin played in seven and started in three, along with recording three runs for the Lakers.
Gruarin has had a love for playing baseball ever since he could walk and began to play at 4-years-old. Ever since he was young he always knew he wanted to be a college baseball player, so he made sure to work hard towards that goal.
“Not every kid gets to play college sports and I have always had aspirations to keep playing baseball and further my academics at the same time through college.” Says Gruarin, who is completing his Bachelors in Business Administration with a minor in Economics.
During his time at Oswego, Gruarin formed a special relationship with everyone on his team and coaching staff. “It was full of fun and success and unforgettable memories that I don’t think I would have gotten transferring to any other college,” said Gruarin.
Gruarin did not hesitate to mention that he will miss his teammates the most. “ When you are with the same people every day you develop a special bond with those people,” said Gruarin.
The feeling is mutual between everyone that has played with Gruarin. Incoming Senior Brendon Frank, who works alongside Gruarin in the outfield, says it will be hard to replace someone with as strong of a work ethic and love for the game. He also stressed the importance in working with someone you trust out in the field, which for him is Casey.
“Casey is the hardest working teammate I’ve ever had and someone that truly represents the program image we try to create,” says Frank, “He’d always be one of the first ones to introduce himself to a recruit, always get his work in, and push others to be better.”
Incoming Junior Anthony Poveda also agrees with how valuable of a teammate and friend Gruarin is. Poveda views Gruarin as an example of how a great teammate should be. From being someone you can have a conversation with, to someone you look up to in the weight room. The big thing that Poveda will miss is his energy on the team.
“He’s one of those guys in the dugout when we’re down to start screaming and getting us fired up. You gotta love people like that,” said Poveda.
Gruarin says everyone he has played with at Oswego will always be close friends. “We have gone through a lot together and I will definitely miss them the most,” said Gruarin.
This Pandemic has not been an easy situation for everyone, but Gruarin stresses the importance of the situation and his support of the decision made. “Seeing where the virus has come now, cancelling college sports was the only logical option to keeping student-athletes and fans safe. It was a decision that had to be made no matter how sad the decision may be. Keeping people safe is the #1 priority in any situation,” said Gruarin.
Gruarin considered Redshirting so he could come back and finish his last year on his own terms with his teammates and coaches. However, he thinks it is time to move on from athletics and begin his adult life.
After graduation, Casey plans to stay at home with his family during the pandemic and search for jobs locally.