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Baseball

Sauk Valley youth baseball, softball seasons still in limbo for some

Brad Huffman
Brad Huffman

Area youth baseball and softball leagues are still in a holding pattern when it comes to what kind of season they will be able to have this year.

With the leagues officially off for the summer in Morrison and a few other cities, and Little League International officially calling off its championships April 30, other leagues are trying to see just what kind of a season they can salvage.

"We're still in limbo," Al Morrison Baseball president Scott Johnson said. "We've deferred it until the end of May, and we're going to decide then. The best-case scenario is we would start practicing around July 4, and try to do something in August and September."

The Dixon Girls Fastpitch League coordinates its softball season with the Oregon Park District, and everything is still somewhat up in the air for them as well.

"We're really on stand-by," said Brad Huffman, one of the board members of the Dixon Girls Fastpitch League. "They are really hopeful for a late season. Without knowing where we sit come June 1, we really don't know. We're hopeful to get the girls out there and have something for them to do this summer, we just don't have any answers at this point."

That could mean fall softball, an idea which has also been on the table for Al Morrison Baseball.

For Al Morrison Baseball, one part of Gov. JB Pritzker's plan to re-open the state in phases needs to be clarified. Pritzker's Phase 4 of Restore Illinois will allow gatherings of up to 50 people.

"We need clarification, does he mean 50 people at all of Page Park, or can we have 50 people at diamond 1," Johnson said. "If it's 50 people at the park, we're done. Each team has 12 kids, and then you have coaches, so you're at 16 [per team], so you're at 32 to 35 [each game] just with staff and the ballplayers."

Page Park has five ballfields, so if the limit applies to each field, they could get a decent season in. If it applies to the park as a whole, the league would be able to hold only a couple of games each day, not nearly enough to get in a full schedule for the around 40 teams All Morrison usually has.

If organizers have to rethink the schedule, nothing is off the table.

"We can play 6 days a week, we can play 2 days a week," Johnson said. "We've always tried to stay away from Sundays, but this year is something different."

If there were no pandemic, Al Morrison would have had games on Saturday. Dixon Girls Fastpitch would have been taking the field in a couple of weeks.

All of those plans are stalled.

"We're going to roll with the punches and do what we can," Huffman said. "Hopefully we can get back to normal sooner rather than later."

Even though some leagues have already pulled the plug, hope is still there in others that players will be able to take the field sometime – "even if we just refund money and try and just do pick-up games, just put the kids out there doing something to get them back to normalcy," Huffman said.

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