HUNTINGTON — The sound of bat meeting ball, the smell of popcorn and the sight of dust from a close play at second base are on the verge of returning in Ohio.
Gov. Mike DeWine gave hope that spring sports can resume in less than two weeks.
DeWine tweeted on Wednesday, “Low-contact or non-contact sports can resume on May 26 if they can meet safety protocols. ... Other high-contact sports are still being considered.”
Protocols for adult and youth baseball and softball leagues were posted Friday at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Baseball-Softball.pdf.
COVID-19 has sidelined most activities, including sports, the last two months. Players, coaches, parents and fans are eager to salvage at least a portion of their seasons.
“We are awaiting the posting of the guideline for the resumption of some sports activities,” Fairland Little League posted on Facebook Thursday night. “While we are waiting for this guidance to make decisions for our league, (officials) for each level have instructed coaches to get in contact with their players’ families regarding summer plans, should we be able to salvage some kind of season.”
How seasons will work is to be seen. Coal Grove Little League has a plan in place.
“As of now, we plan to start practices on June 1, with the season starting June 13 and running through Aug. 1,” according to a post on the league’s website. “We will be in contact with managers the week before to set up practice times.”
Ironton Little League has a similar plan to begin June 1, with a shortened season to conclude Aug. 1. Rock Hill Little League tentatively plans to begin practice on May 26. Chesapeake and South Point Little Leagues were working on plans to begin.
Along with baseball and softball, tennis and golf may begin play on May 26 as long as participants meet safety protocol guidelines.
School facilities remain closed, however, meaning no league nor individual may use those.