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Youth baseball and softball

On-deck? Little League seasons put on hold due to coronavirus

Administrators, coaches, players hopeful seasons can make first pitches in May
By Zack Miller | Apr 03, 2020
Photo by: Zack Miller Sign at Oceanside Little League fields on upper Pleasant Street in Rockland.

The sports world as we had known it has been turned upside down and, in most cases, stopped completely.

Professional, college and high school sports have been postponed, or, in some cases, cancelled, due to health concerns over the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The virus has wreaked havoc not only on the aforementioned levels, but also on Little League, a rite of spring and early-summer, as Midcoast youth baseball and softball players wait to see when — or if — their seasons will start.

The current date circled on the calendar is May 11, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended eight weeks before large gatherings of 50 or more people should get together.

Of course, some of the following information may be updated in the near future after Maine Governor Janet Mills' new executive order for all non-essential people to stay and work from home until May 1.

The following is from the Little League International website:

"With the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Little League International Board of Directors and staff is now strongly advising all its local Little League programs to suspend/delay their Little League seasons through no earlier than Monday, May 11," said Stephen D. Keener, president and CEO of Little League International. "We implore you to follow this recommendation and suspend all Little League activities through no earlier than May 11.

"We recognize that this is the heart of the traditional Little League season, and we share in the great disappointment that many are feeling surrounding this additional pause in the 2020 season. However, it is our hope that by doing this, we will all play a small, but important part in flattening the curve in the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We will continue to consult with appropriate medical advisors, government health officials and our volunteer leaders around the world, and we are committed to doing the best we can for the safety and well-being of our players, families, volunteers, and fans."

Little League International initially suspended the season, on March 12, until Monday, April 6 and then pushed the date, on March 16, to May 11 due to the CDC's recommendations.

The postponement from the national level affected the seasons of Midcoast Little League programs Five Town, Waldo County, Medomak Valley and Oceanside, and all those District 2 leagues have followed suit with the national decision.

Five Town Little League

A day before Little League International issued its most recent delay, Five Town's board voted on Sunday, March 15 to "suspend all official, in-person preseason baseball and softball events through Sunday, April 26 … to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus within our communities," wrote Rick Thackeray, league president.

"The board reached this difficult decision after reviewing the decisions made by both MSAD 28 (Camden and Rockport) and School Union 69 (Appleton, Hope, and Lincolnville) to close their schools until after April school vacation week. Little League International has recommended that all local leagues immediately suspend all league activities until a date no earlier than April 6, but to 'follow the guidance of their local authorities, evaluating school district closures, and local health department recommendations before resuming season play.' The board is tentatively rescheduling Majors baseball and softball tryouts for Saturday, May 2. We hope to run preseason clinics for all levels — Minors and Majors — of baseball and softball during the week of April 27 to May 1."

At that time, Thackeray said weather will dictate whether those clinics take place indoors or on the fields at Marge Jones Recreation Facility on Route 90 in Rockport, True Park in Hope and Lincolnville Central School town fields.

"Thereafter, we plan to hold our opening day on Saturday, May 9, and proceed with our regular season with as little disruption as is possible," Thackeray's letter stated. "We also plan for the tee-ball season to proceed as originally scheduled with our opening tee-ball night taking place on Tuesday, May 5. These plans may change as information about the severity of the outbreak and responsible community response becomes clearer, but this is our plan as of [Sunday, March 15].

Thackeray added, "We are really trying to do everything in our power to make sure that there is some kind of Little League softball, baseball and tee ball for our children in 2020. If circumstances get worse we have a lot of questions we will have to have answered from Little League International, in terms of protecting the interests of the local leagues.

"We would prefer not to think too hard about those possibilities yet, but I'd be lying to you if I told you I wasn't thinking about them."

Of course, much of the above information could change due to the fluidity of the situation.

Oceanside Little League

Oceanside Little League followed suit with the postponement of its season due to the virus, and released a similar statement to its members, that follows:

"Oceanside Little League will be postponing all Little League activities for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes all scheduled clinics, meetings, training sessions and evaluations/tryouts, and games. This decision comes from the recommendation from our governing board, Little League International, and in-line with other area schools, leagues, and area events. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make decisions of when activities will resume based on recommendations of the CDC, Little League International, and our district administrators.

"While this is a great disappointment for our league, the safety for our players and our Little League community is always our top priority. We are in hopes this will be temporary, and we will be on our fields soon. We will continue to provide updates via our Facebook page and our website for any further changes or developments as it pertains to Oceanside Little League. You may refer to the Little League FAQ page regarding the coronavirus to help answer some of your questions. If there are any other questions or concerns please feel free to reach out at oceansidelittleleague@gmail.com and we will do our best to help answer them."

Despite Little League International issuing a date which teams can start, Oceanside Little League has not made an announcement about a specific start date for its league.

"This decision was made after thorough discussion among the Oceanside Little League board of directors," said Davin Putansu, Oceanside Little League president. "Other area leagues and our district administrators were also consulted for their opinions and plans going forward.

"Ultimately, we decided it was far safer for our Little League community to suspend all activity until a time when it is safe to proceed as outlined by recommendations from expert sources. Because the situation remains extremely fluid, we are not planning a specific start date at this time. We will be updating as stated above."

Waldo County Little League

Waldo County Little League falls into the same boat, and has postponed its season until further notice, with no definitive start date.

"The Waldo County Little League Board of Directors has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic," said Brent Waterman, Waldo County Little League president. "At this time, taking into consideration the Maine Principals' Association suspending all sports until April 27, Little League International recommending a total suspension of all activity until May 11, and the Governor’s mandate of no groups larger then 10 people, WCLL will continue with the suspension of all activity until further notice. We will continue monitoring the situation."

Medomak Valley Little League

Players of Medomak Valley Little League also will have to wait a few more weeks before they can take the field in any organized capacity.

"We are taking guidance from Little League International out of Pennsylvania not to have any local league activity until May 11, but that is not set in stone," said Pat Hood, Medomak Valley Little League president. "We have been completing field maintenance here in Union anticipating we will have some version of a season."

Despite the pause in organized activities, Hood recommends the league's players keep their skills sharp.

"I would encourage baseball and softball athletes alike at all levels of play to work on throwing, catching and batting skills as their homeschool physical education," said Hood. "These uncharted times are a challenge for us all, but we in the baseball [and] softball world look forward to the days of hitting the field [as soon as possible]."

For more information about Little League International’s recommendations to local league's efforts to respond to COVID-19, visit Little League’s frequently-asked questions page: littleleague.org/player-safety/coronavirus-update/.

For more information about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for reducing introduction and spread of COVID-19, visit the US CDC’s page: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

John Foster Little League Field in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Bases on a local field. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Logo on Oceanside field. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Clyde Sukeforth Memorial Field in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: James York | Apr 04, 2020 01:59

Upper Pleasant St is up near the jail you morons, the ballparks are on the southeast side of Rte 1!  Who edits this stuff! Get it together



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