PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Batter up! After canceling several sports seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation announced Thursday plans to move forward with spring baseball from mid-May through mid-July.
“Cancelling all of our sports seasons for the past year was extremely difficult and sad for our youth, so we are incredibly excited to be able to provide the opportunity to safely play baseball this year,” said Justin Price, Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation Director. “We are putting all types of safety protocols in place and doing everything we can to prevent COVID-19 exposures for our youth and everyone involved.”
Officials say registration will take place online from March 13 through April 16. However, each area will also host some onsite dates, which you can find out through your area coordinator. If you do not know the name or contact information for your area coordinator, either follow this link or call (434) 432-7736.
With the season slated to start around the second week of May, Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation says there will not be an end of season tournament.
“The baseball season, which will be for ages 4 to 15, will look much different than in years past. To help prevent potential exposures to COVID-19, there will be a wide range of health and safety guidelines in place for the season,” Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation said in a statement released on Thursday, March 4.
The guidelines shared in Thursday’s statement are included below:
- Players will not be allowed to leave the dugout to congratulate players after a score. In addition, those in the dugout will be required to social distance and wear masks. The National Federation of State High School Associations rules allow for the dugout and warmup area to be extended for social distancing.
- Pitchers will not be permitted to put their hands in their mouth or blow on their hands before pitching the ball.
- All equipment and balls should be appropriately cleaned between each players’ use.
- Fans who live under the same roof can sit together, but others will need to socially distance themselves. If they are not able to social distance then they will need to wear a mask.
- Concession stands will be limited to pre-packed items.
According to officials, the games will mostly be played at the softball and baseball fields at Chatham, Tunstall, Dan River, and Gretna high schools, but there will be occasional games at the middle school fields.
Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation attributed the decision to not hold an end of season tournament to the later-than-usual start to the season, as well as the potential for large numbers of family and friends wanting to attend, which would make social distancing difficult in to enforce with the seating arrangements.
“We are doing everything we can to provide some sense of normalcy in this season without compromising the safety of our youth, the coaches, umpires, staff, and fans,” Price said.