Despite the fact the historic Little League World Series will not be held for first time since it began in August 1947 due to the continued health concerns over the COVID-19 (coronvavirus) pandemic, state and local leagues remain steadfast in their efforts to try to figure out how to have some semblance of a season.

One of those local organizations is Five Town Little League.

Rick Thackeray, Five Town president, said the Midcoast Little League presidents he has communicated with have formulated "vague" plans for possible seasons and most remain "flexible" in an effort to have some form of diamond campaign for youngsters.

"I know Oceanside and Five Town are keeping our options open and hoping to have some kind of a season as soon as we can. The date Five Town is using right now is June 1 as a movable 'start date,' based on the governor's recently-announced scaled schedule of reopening businesses. We think we fit in that first phase (i.e. post-May 31)."

Thackeray said Five Town hopes to have a one-week "preseason" which would start on [Monday,] June 1, during which the league has tryouts/evaluations that allow new players to move up from Minors to Majors, "and for our Minors players to be appropriately sorted between coach-pitch and kid-pitch divisions. This goes for both baseball and softball, although we may have a tough time finding enough softball players for three full teams, assuming a certain amount of attrition from our expected numbers with those likely to materialize in a post-COVID-19 season. This would mean a [Saturday,} June 6 'Opening Day,' with as normal a schedule unfolding from there."

He said for his league, softball is "tricky" because Five Town likely will have no more than three teams — one high-Majors, one low-Majors and one coach-pitch Minors — possibly two — one Majors, one Minors.

Thackeray said that means Five Town needs to coordinate with the Oceanside and Medomak Valley Little Leagues to put together a full schedule for softball. He said Five Town and Oceanside appear on the same page, but he needs to connect and coordinate with Medomak Valley officials.

"We're in patience-mode on that score," he said.

He said he expects Five Town Little League tee ball to be fine and run "smashingly. We would also shoot for some kind of start during the week of June 1. We had 100 kids turn out from the five towns last year. Considering the lack of any need for structure beyond parents and kids getting together on a warm June/July evening at the park, I think we can deliver a fine tee-ball experience this season."

Thackeray said there also are several tricks to master.

Trick one is to gauge how receptive small business sponsors are to continue sponsorship in light of the new pandemic economic realities, he said. "We will need sponsorship support, but we also don't want to over-ask from businesses that might be in a tough spot." Thackeray said.

Another trick is to identify the final player numbers and getting hands on hats/uniforms on a hurry-up schedule, he said, adding, he will need to reconnect with KDK Printing and Embroidery in Thomaston to see what that business can do. "We would very much like to continue supporting our local businesses wherever possible," he said.

Thackeray said "we have only had one person request a refund from their registration, which is pretty remarkable considering we had more than 100 kids registered in our programs before they came to a screeching halt around March 15. We will need a new, big registration push to get our teams to where they ought to be.

"The final trick is balancing our full-enthusiasm registration drive with some reasonable measure of skepticism over what might still happen when we get to June 1. Every date is a guess. We just hope that the likelihood percentages will improve the further into the future we go.

"But we are prepared to have some kind of a season, no matter what or when. If June 1 turns out to have been too aggressive a prediction, we'll push it forward to June 15. If that doesn't work, we'll try June 22. And if we can't get in a full eight-week season, we'll have the best four-week season ever."

Thackeray said he wants to make sure children ages 7-12 "get that special opportunity to play in the unique experience of Little League baseball and softball. And if nothing else, we want to make sure two things remain after the 2020 season: One, our 12-year-olds get to enjoy that 'victory lap' of playing some kind of season as the biggest, most talented kids on the field (and get their 12 year-old FTLL alumni sweatshirt!) and two, for 100 percent of our 9-11-year-olds to get enough of a taste of the greatness of the Little League experience that they are excited for the 2021 season."

Next year the Little League World Series was to celebrate its 75th year playing the tournament, but that milestone has been moved to 2022.

The Little League Baseball World Series is just one of nine World Series conducted annually by Little League International, each in a different location. Many have been canceled for this season.

Little League International President Stephen Keener announced the cancellations in a Facebook Live broadcast on Thursday, April 30 from league headquarters in Williamsport, Pa., as he said it would be “impossible” to hold the events amid ongoing restrictions on large gatherings and travel.

He was quoted in a Boston Globe article as saying: “Let me tell the folks in all those communities and all the sites where we have regional qualifying tournaments how disappointed we are to have to do this, but it was inevitable. It would be irresponsible and impossible to bring teams and thousands of people from all over the world into the community of Williamsport as well as those six other communities that have been such great friends and supporters of ours over the years.”

He added travel restrictions would have made it equally impossible to hold qualifying tournaments for international teams and to bring those teams safely to this country.

Little League International has not, however, called off the 2020 regular season. Keener said in his Facebook Live broadcast there was reason for optimism that teams could play this spring and summer, depending on restrictions in states and localities.