WAVELRY – Waverly youth between the ages of 9 and 18 years are running the bases as we speak.
Waverly Parks and Recreation Director Noah Dea has spent countless hours trying to put together practice and game schedules for 32 youth teams after Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that youth baseball and softball could return across the state on June 1.
“All of the scheduling had to be completely re-done. A lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to make sure all of the teams can schedule practice time and game times,” said Dea.
Chances are, if you happen by Wayne Park or Lawson Park between now and the end of July, you will see a youth softball or baseball team practicing or competing in a game.
“We will be going all day every day through pretty much through the end of July,” Dea commented.
Not all youth team seasons were able to be saved.
On May 26, the Waverly City Council made the decision to cancel the blastball, t-ball and 8-and-under coach pitch baseball and softball seasons. Full refunds will be issued to families who had youth registered to play in the four leagues.
“We decided to cancel the season for those teams, because we felt it would have been difficult for kids between the ages of three and eight years of age to comprehend and follow all of the new rules and guidelines,” Dea added.
Seven recreational teams and 25 select teams will be playing in Waverly this summer.
Dea is hoping to get the rec teams between 10 and 14 games and the number of games for the select teams will vary from team to team.
Games will be held starting on June 18 and will continue through the end of July.
Dea said that teams are trying to schedule as many doubleheaders as they can to try and get two games in one day.
Normally teams, especially select softball teams, play in a tournament every weekend throughout the summer, but under the current restrictions and guidelines Dea expects large tournaments to be few and far between.
“You will see a lot more single games and doubleheaders as opposed to large tournaments,” Dea added.
Coaches and players have had to adhere to new restrictions and guidelines and games will look a lot different when teams take to the diamond on Thursday.
Dugout use will not be allowed. Teams are asked to line up against the fence, at least six feet apart.
Parents must remain in their cars or drop off and pick up players after practice.
Players have been asked to use their own gloves, helmet and bats as much as possible.
Coaches are responsible for ensuring that social distancing is being maintained between players as much as possible.
Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume during and after practice. Drinking fountains and coolers are off limits.
Players are asked to bring their own snacks. Communal snacks are prohibited.
Coaches have been asked to sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice.
Once games are allowed to begin on June 18 all of same guidelines will apply.
Use of dugouts is permitted during games only.
Players should have assigned places for their personal items. Coaches have been asked to designate an adult who is responsible for ensuring players are seated on the benches, unless they are participating in the game.
Fan attendance is limited to household members of the players on the team. Fans are not allowed to sit in the bleachers and have been asked to bring their own chairs.
Teams scheduled to play in the next game are asked to warm-up in a specific designated area.
Postgame handshakes or interaction between teams is prohibited.
After the game is over, the leaving team must sanitize the dugout area. No postgame talks are allowed at the field.
Fans and players must leave the field and return to their cars immediately after the game.
Restrooms must be cleaned and sanitized regularly while players and fans are present. People waiting to use the restroom have been asked to remain six feet apart.
Concession stands are not allowed to be open.
“It is going to be an adjustment for everyone. Players, coaches, umpires and the limited number of fans will have an entire new set of rules to follow, but I think everyone will be willing to do that to have the opportunity to finally get on the field,” said Dea.