There will be little joy on the field for young baseball players this year, with various Langley ball associations canceling their seasons and warning many players may have to wait until September to take the field, if current restrictions are eased. (Langley Advance Times file)

Young ball players idled as Langley youth leagues cancel season

Many players may not get a chance to return to the field until the fall, organizers warn

It’s shaping up as a slow season for young ball players in Langley.

Executives of both the North Langley Baseball and Langley Baseball Association have canceled their spring seasons and while there is some hope there could be some form of play this summer, it likely won’t amount to a resumption of normal competition.

North Langley Softball, meanwhile, has announced plans to play games this summer under tight new restrictions, if they can get the approval of Softball B.C.(SBBC), which has released a “Return to Play Plan for the Summer of 2020”

North Langley Baseball president Doug Crone called the June 11 announcement that the season would be cancelled the “hardest decision” the executive has ever had to make.

Crone said while competition is on hold, there are still possibilities.

“We are trying to salvage some kind of play,” Crone told the Langley Advance Times.

It would likely involve selected teams of older players getting in workouts, Crone explained.

“They will be practicing, but they won’t be playing.”

To offer that, they will need to draft and implement a Covid-19 safety plan, according to the Baseball BC four-phase plan to resume play.

It is now in the second phase, where teams are not allowed to have games with any other associations, and any “in house” games have a limited amount of players.

Among the restrictions, a limit to no more than 10 athletes and two coaches at any event, and to the number of spectators, as well as a ban on shared personal equipment such as bats, catcher’s gear and helmets.

Equipment must be disinfected before, during and after each game and no batting cages are allowed.

READ ALSO: North Langley Baseball celebrates 25 years

Langley Baseball Association president Tyler Watt commented that the spring season “cancelled itself,” with teams unable to play due to the pandemic.

“We’re hoping to run a fall ball season that would start in September,” Watt said.

He noted Baseball BC has not lifted any restrictions regarding on-field baseball activities.

“We understand in the near future they might give approval for limited practice opportunities, however the return to actual game play this summer is unlikely,” Watt told parents in an online posting announcing the “difficult” decision to cancel the season.

“There could be summer development programs once we have clear direction from Baseball BC.”

READ MORE: Langley Little League players produce a hand-made COVID-19 safety message

North Langley Softball parents have been told there could be a summer season, operating with restrictions, if they can get clearance from Softball B.C.(SBBC).

A message from the executive said summer could start July 2 with skill-development practices only and only for U10 and above.

Practices are not to include any scrimmages or games in order to maintain social distance.

Requirements for playing softball during the pandemic would add several new volunteer positions, such as screeners, who ask designated COVID screening questions to all participants and others attending any softball activity; attendance trackers, who record the name and phone number of all participants and others attending any softball activity; distancing monitors who track physical distancing of their team’s players, coaches, and spectators on and off the field; and a sanitizing champion, a person assigned by a team to be responsible for sanitization of the facility and equipment during a given softball activity

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