By ALEX SPONSELLER Little League baseball took one major step toward returning to Warwick this past week. As Gov. Gina Raimondo and the State of Rhode Island have begun Phase 2 of reopening due to the coronavirus, that has also opened the door for fields
By ALEX SPONSELLER Little League baseball took one major step toward returning to Warwick this past week.
As Gov. Gina Raimondo and the State of Rhode Island have begun Phase 2 of reopening due to the coronavirus, that has also opened the door for fields to open and for leagues to begin practicing under new regulations.
Some of those regulations include limiting practices to 15 or fewer participants, athletes using their own equipment, as well as other basic sanitation-related rules and guidelines.
Leagues have now begun to request permits for field use, and many leagues such as Warwick North and Warwick Continental American have been successful and are kicking things off this week.
“It’s incredibly important, it’s beyond what we probably would have thought in mid-May. To go and turn around and to be able to start this, especially for those 12 year olds who were about to lose their last year of Little League and that opportunity to play one last time at the pit, it’s incredibly special,” said North President Sean Wiggins.
Games will not be able to be played until the state officially begins Phase 3, which is currently slated to begin on July 6 after the holiday weekend.
So, these leagues are aiming to begin their regular season on that date, or whenever the third phase is officially in effect.
“We didn’t give up, we had to fight several times and had to stay on course. Our families are appreciative of where we are. For those kids in Majors, they have been stuck in the house with their only interaction with each other being through headphones. They need structure, and when I met with parents and saw some of the kids, if you saw their faces, they can’t wait to get on that field,” said Wiggins.
As excited as players are to hit the field, Wiggins and his coaches have emphasized the importance of following state and league regulations to ensure safety. Wiggins hopes that his players will make the most of the situation.
“They understand the guidelines. They need to bring their masks, their own equipment, but the way I see it, it will be a special season because it is different. Since we are starting late, there are no All-Stars and it will just be for fun and playing with your friends, getting that socialization. We couldn’t be any more psyched,” said Wiggins.
As of now, North is still hashing out the details regarding the younger divisions and will have a solidified plan in the coming days. As for how long the season will run, that is also to be determined, but Wiggins is hoping to have a full-length season, including playoffs, that runs into the early fall.
“It could be through August. Ideally, you’d like to have playoffs to give them something to play for. Nothing is etched in stone, but I know that some of our District 3 partners want to do something for the 12 year olds, so we’ll see. But I expect the season to go until the first week of September,” said Wiggins. “We’ll need to adjust a little bit, but we don’t feel like it will be a huge ask, we want to give these kids something special. We want to give these kids the chance to compete for first place, a playoff seed, and to have a championship this 2020 season.”