HUNTINGTON — COVID-19 has delivered a “you’re out” to Little League baseball and softball throughout the country, but officials hope to take another swing.
Local Little League administrators say they plan to play some semblance of a season once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, whenever that might be.
On a national level, the Little League World Series and regional tournaments have been canceled. That doesn’t, however, mean that local teams can’t play if the pandemic-spawned quarantine is lifted in time.
“This is a very unfortunate circumstance, but we believe it is certainly the right decision for an event of that magnitude,” Huntington Little League President David Amsbary said of the World Series cancellation. “Though the World Series will not be played this year, it does not spell the end of Little League Baseball in West Virginia or Huntington Little League.”
Amsbary said he’s hopeful that players may take to the field again soon after June 7, the end date of Gov. Jim Justice’s six-week timetable for the resumption of near-full activities.
“When we resume depends largely on how well we do as a community to combat this virus in coming weeks and month,” Amsbary said.
Amsbary said that when the go-ahead order is given, Huntington Little League will be ready. He said fields have been maintained as workers have adhered to social distancing guidelines.
“The Huntington Little League board is working diligently to maintain the fields and other responsibilities so that we will be ready to start the season as soon as we can in a safe and responsible manner,” Amsbary said.
Even if restrictions are eased or lifted, Amsbary said Huntington Little League will take care to make decisions to protect the health of players, coaches, umpires and fans.
“Among the measures HLL is currently taking to insure the safety and well being of all of our families is to assemble a committee of league officials and health care professionals to evaluate every aspect of how we normally operate so that we can be prepared to make any modifications we need in the coming weeks,” Amsbary said.
“This evaluation, along with future guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Cabell County Health Department and Little League International and District 1 will be used to develop necessary and appropriate health and safety guidelines that will permit us to operate safely as soon as we are able to resume,” he said.
“Prior to resumption of play, each member of our league will be provided a copy of these guidelines to review, consider and comment.”
In Ohio, however, the situation appears much different. Little Leagues in Lawrence County still are awaiting their options, but several in Scioto County have scrapped the season.
Wheelersburg, Minford, South Webster and Northwest Little Leagues in Scioto County called off their 2020 seasons. Players registered for Wheelersburg Little League will receive discounts on their 2021 registration, according to the league’s Facebook page.