September 27, 2020 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Youth baseball to restart season today

Play ball!


St. Joseph Youth Baseball has decided to restart their season after canceling it last month.


Games resumed on Wednesday at Woodard Community Park.


Baseball Board President Jim Cotter said the board met after the IESA reversed its decision on fall sports.


“We met and decided to give our season another chance,” he said.


Cotter said the board thought it was important to give the children the chance to play if they could.


“So much has been taken from these kids, we wanted to give them the opportunity to play if it was deemed safe enough,” he said.


The league has instituted some safety guidelines to help ensure player health and safety.


They are encouraging parents to notify a board member if a child or anyone in their house has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a known exposure. If children have COVID-19 symptoms the board is asking parents to keep their children at home.


The board is asking children that have their own bat and helmet use their own equipment during games and practices. Children who do not have their own helmet will be provided one and it will be kept with the coaches equipment.


Each coach will have hand sanitizer and wipes in the dugout during games and practices.


Social distancing is encouraged in the dugout. Only the next two batters will be allowed in the dugout and the rest of the players will be spread out down the sideline fence. Lysol spray will be provided to spray catching equipment after its use and teams will forgo the typical lineup and handshake.


The board is also asking parents to keep their children home from baseball activities for 14 days if they or a member of their household have traveled to a known COVID-19 hotspot.


Cotter said making sure the board could have safety measures in place was of the utmost importance.


“We are making sure kids are spaced in the dugout and along the fence to practice social distancing, as well as making sure that kids have their own equipment and do not share water bottles with one another,’ he said.


Parents must sign a COVID-10 liability waiver before their children will be allowed to play.


If a player or coach tests positive for COVID-19 the league will notify the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department and follow their guidance.
The season could be canceled again if multiple teams have players or coaches test positive, if area schools go fully remote or there is a large surge in COVID-19 cases in the immediate area.


Cotter said parents have responded positively to their plan.


“Parent response has been overwhelming for us to play,” he said. “Yes, there are a few families that have decided not to participate for personal reasons, but for the most part, parents are okay with our decision and will take the necessary measures to ensure that their kids will be as safe as possible

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