Local leagues react to COVID-19 recommendations
March 26, 2020
With the start to baseball and softball season within weeks, local Dixie Youth Baseball and Dixie Youth Softball leagues at Lewis County Memorial Park were suspended in a national release from Dixie Youth on March 13, 2020.
In the release, the governing body stated, "Based on the recent updates from the CDC, Dixie Youth Baseball strongly advises our leagues to postpone all league activities including practices and scheduled games until further notice. We urge DYB leagues to follow these guidelines of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as our country works its way through this historic pandemic in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus." Ultimately, these recommendations from the national governing body included that they "recommended local leagues follow the guidance of their local governments, school boards, and local health department recommendations before resuming regular-season play." With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the President's Coronavirus Guidelines both advising events and gatherings of 10 or more to be cancelled or postponed until early May, local leagues could see a long delay before seasons begin.
County Mayor Jonah Keltner serves as the president of the local Dixie Youth leagues and hopes the delay will be short. "I hate that we have had to delay the start of our season for three weeks, but hope that period will give this pandemic time to die down so the boys and girls of our community can get back out on the field and enjoy playing t-ball, baseball and softball," Keltner said. "While I'm really upset about the suspension of sporting events in Lewis County, I completely understand the need to be proactive and use extreme caution during this unprecedented time in our Nation's history. It's better to be safe than sorry, and I support our local leaders' decision to temporarily suspend sporting events in our community," he continued.
Taylor McVay, head of the local Dixie Youth baseball league, shared that they will be ready to begin as soon as school returns to regular schedule, as the leagues are following the lead of Lewis County Schools. "Currently we are planning to start practices April 6th. We are looking forward to a great year of baseball here in Lewis County, and we cannot wait to get these boys on the field doing what they love." McVay shared.
Aren Ragsdale, who administers over the local Dixie Youth softball league, briefed us on the same info. Ragsdale explained that the league officials were "continuing to evaluate everything going on with Covid-19 and are making adjustments as needed to ensure the youth have an opportunity to play the game they love." He echoed McVay's plan for practices, saying "right now we are looking at starting practices on April 6th, and the season would start soon after that."
If the season does begin within a couple of weeks after practices begin, it is likely that the regular season will have to be shortened to allow for tournament play. In a telephone interview, District DYB Co-director Janice Harris explained that tournament dates are set. "The youngest age group, the 5-6 year old group, is set to start district tournament play in Loretto on June 19th, with the 7-8 year old group starting the same day in Summertown. 9-10 year old group starts three days later, the 22nd in Collinwood, and the 11-12's play June 26th in Mt. Pleasant," Harris shared. "We have certain dates to complete our district tournaments to meet the state tournament dates, and likewise the World Series."
Chuck Moser, also with Dixie Youth, was able to provide the softball district dates also by telephone. "The district softball tournaments begin with the Ponytails on June 18th in Waynesboro and the Sweetees on June 19th in Hohenwald, the Angels in Linden on the 22nd, the Darlings in Summertown and the Belles in Waynesboro, all on the 24th," Moser added. "These dates are firm because state dates are set a couple years in advance."