It’s welcome news for youth diamond teams

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 15 June 2020 at 4:59 pm

During an ordinary spring area youth baseball regular seasons would be heading into the stretch run by this time with the playoffs upcoming.

However, because of the Covid-19 Pandemic this has been anything but a normal spring as all team sports activity from the youth level to the major leagues has been on hold since mid March.

Because of that officials of both the Albion Midget League and the Niagara Orleans Youth Baseball League, which includes teams from Medina, Middleport, Lyndonville and Somerset, early last month cancelled their seasons.

However, they did leave the door open for some kind of a late summer baseball activity if restrictions were eased.

And now that door is open because of an announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday the familiar call of “Play Ball” may still be heard on some area youth baseball diamonds before the summer is over.

Area youth baseball players and coaches finally got some very welcome news with that announcement by the Governor which stated that youth baseball and softball teams could begin playing on July 6.

“We will be practicing on July 6 unless it rains,” said Albion Sandstone team Coach Dan Bartlett whose happiness and relief at this announcement is no doubt shared by many other coaches. “There will be some baseball at Sandstone this summer. We just want to get some baseball in. It’s for the kids.”

“Right now we’re not talking about a league as we don’t even know how many teams will even have enough kids,” he added. “For right now we’re just looking to practice, scrimmage and like the old “Sandlot” days maybe get some pickup games in. We’re going to try to do something. We’re going to need probably three weeks of practice and then hopefully play some games in August. We would just like to have some kind of a season.”

At the time of that season canceling announcement Niagara Orleans officials likewise voiced the hope that some organized baseball activity could be put together before the end of the summer. when the restrictions were eased.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Chris Goyette of Medina Loyal Baseball of the Governor’s announcement. “However, we’re going to have to be very careful whatever we do. We’d like to give the kids an opportunity to play a little baseball but as an organization we have to be very careful.”