Shelburne Falls’ Liam Datres de la Blotier staying positive despite Colby-Sawyer baseball season’s early end

  • Shelburne Falls’ Liam Datres de la Blotier had his final season with the Colby-Sawyer College baseball team cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Mohawk Trail Regional alum hit .308 in a shortened season where the Chargers amassed a 3-8 record. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/COLBY-SAWYER ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/3/2020 4:59:19 PM
Modified: 4/3/2020 4:59:06 PM

You’d be hard pressed to find a collegiate athlete who has dealt with as much adversity as Liam Datres de la Blotier the past two seasons.

The Shelburne Falls native and Mohawk Trail Regional alum had his senior year with the Colby-Sawyer College baseball team halted early in 2019 when he suffered a season-ending injury. He was granted a waiver for a fifth-year of eligibility, and worked hard in the offseason to prepare for one more shot this spring.

Just 11 games into the Chargers’ schedule however, college athletics throughout the country were suspended, and ultimately canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s definitely hard on everyone, especially the upperclassmen,” offered Datres de la Blotier of the spring cancellation. “Everyone was looking forward to this all year, to get to baseball season. It’s tough, personally. I feel for the guys on our team but everyone is in the same boat across the country. It’s out of our hands.”

Colby-Sawyer went 3-8 during its abbreviated season. After a season-opening loss to Springfield College on March 4, the Chargers hopped on a plane and flew to Florida for a week of games. As the week progressed, coronavirus news only increased, and by the end of his week in Florida, Datres de la Blotier said his teammates were very aware of the state of the world.

“Even in Springfield, some of the players had started to notice that Italy had shut down their professional soccer league,” he explained. “A few of us already were like, ‘What’s going to happen to us?’ We had concern for the season at that point, but we tried to put it in the back of our minds. We had games to win, just take it one day at a time.”

In Florida, Colby-Sawyer, which also boasts Greenfield’s Hunter Campbell and Kaelen Close, won games against Becker College, Gordon College and D’Youville College. By the end of the week however, the Chargers struggled to find opponents to fill out a doubleheader on March 13. Games with MCLA and RPI were canceled, and the trip came to a conclusion with a 15-1 loss to Wheaton.

“As the week went on, things started to get more crazy,” Datres de la Blotier said. “We had heard that Amherst College shut down their season and all kind of looked at each other and realized that this is over. This trip is all we’ve got left now.”

The trip back to New England was certainly unusual, under the circumstances. The Chargers flew back through Orlando, and while Datres de la Blotier’s parents had made the trip down to watch him play for the week, he said he didn’t hug them goodbye before getting on the plane due to coronavirus concerns.

“It was all about erring on the side of caution,” he said. “My dad is 71. I was concerned myself. It was just crazy, because no one really knew what was going on, what we should or shouldn’t be doing. Everyone was touching baseballs, living in close quarters. I was trying to be as cautious as I can be.”

Datres de la Blotier’s final season at Colby-Sawyer saw him smack .308 in 13 at-bats with a pair of RBIs. He was hobbled with injuries again, but felt prepared for the conference portion of the season had things not been canceled.

“I felt I had grown a lot in the offseason, had made some great strides in all parts of my game,” he began. “I tweaked my hamstring sliding into home at Springfield. Then my spikes broke running to first base in Florida so I was sidelined with a hamstring issue. I didn’t really push it, we wanted to save me for conference play. So it was hard. I felt like I was playing really well when I was in the games.”

Datres de la Blotier is back in his off-campus residence in New London, N.H., finishing the rest of his final semester at Colby-Sawyer remotely. Having already graduated from the school, he had planned to take a year off before going to law school, and said he would likely try to walk on to whatever school he ends up at with an added year of eligibility. The NCAA announced it would give spring sport student-athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the canceled season.

“I think it’s great that the NCAA granted another year of eligibility but I don’t think everybody will use them,” he said. “I think it depends on peoples’ financial situation. Will you continue more schooling or is it not worth it to you?”

Despite all the chaos, Datres de la Blotier said he’s doing his best to stay positive. Not many players have gone through consecutive seasons like the ones he has endured.

“One of my best friends texted me, ‘The gods just don’t want you to play baseball, do they?’” he recalled. “It’s just the way things go sometimes. It’s out of my control so I try not to stress about it. I’ve had a lot of good things happen up here, I’ve enjoyed my time getting to play ball here.”


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