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PLAY BALL! YOUTH BASEBALL-SOFTBALL OPENING UP

“Play Ball!”

Those words have been yelled out loud every single summer since the 1960s when Wayne Singer and many community leaders from his generation worked tirelessly to create summer baseball and softball leagues in Eads and surrounding towns--- without exception. That is, until 2020 arrived and COVID-19 nearly ruined everything a kid could look forward to. As late as last week, we reported that it looked like it might be possible that summer ball would be on the chopping block along with the many activities the kids missed during the spring semester of school.

But not so fast. Later in the week Governor Polis added a bit more leniency to his Safer-at-Home guidelines that included the great outdoors. This also gave hope to kids all the across the state of Colorado that perhaps, just perhaps, their summer vacation wouldn’t be a complete bust. The updated guidelines opened up the playgrounds and swimming pools across the area—good news for kids and parents who were desperately looking for summertime activities.

In responding to the state’s updated information, the Kiowa County Administrator Tina Adamson sent the new guidelines to the Eads Summer Ball board of directors. A meeting was then held and the board decided to move forward in offering local kids a chance to play softball and baseball. The summer ball program won’t look completely the same, however, it’s a chance for kids to get out among their friends once again and learn to play and compete in a safe and controlled environment.

A group of young players who cleaned up the Homeplate Field last spring. Now a year later, these kids haven't been able to play---until now.

Based on the guidelines from the state, the local board decided they would not join the Babe Ruth Association this year. Therefore, no players will be covered by insurance through Babe Ruth. That means parents or guardians will have to sign a waiver agreeing to be responsible for any injury the child may receive while playing summer ball. Another change suggests that those enrolled in summer ball will play among themselves in a scrimmage format per age group and division. Uniforms will not be handed out for the teams but rather players will be encouraged to wear their own appropriate playing attire. A concession stand will not be available to parents are encouraged to come prepared with drinks, snacks and other necessary items.

According to Eads Summer Ball president Sean Lening, “It’s not exactly how we would like to have the summer ball program look this year, however, it’s at least something rather than nothing. We’re excited to get the kids back out on the fields.”

The Eads Summer Ball group is organized and ready to sign up any child who wants to play baseball or softball. The weekly schedule will begin in the next couple of weeks and will be as follows: Monday & Wednesdays – Girls Minors and Majors Softball; Tuesdays & Thursdays – Boys Minors and Majors Baseball; Fridays – Tee Ball. All games will be on the Homeplate Field (north field).

The older baseball players from age 13-19 have already begun to play and will have a number of games, probably against other towns, on the Eads High School field (south field).

Sign-ups for the various teams will be held this Thursday, June 11th, at the Homeplate Field (north field). Parents/Guardians must attend with their child at the allotted time in order to sign a playing waiver and to get further information from the coaches. The registration schedule on Thursday, April 11, at the Homeplate Field (north field) is as follows:

Minor Boys – Age 7-9 – 6:00 pm

Major Boys – Age 10-12 – 6:00 pm

Minor Girls – Ages 7-9 – 6:30 pm

Majors Girls – Ages 10-12 – 6:30 pm

Tee Ball – Ages 4-6 – Girls & Boys – 6:45 pm

There is no fee to play summer ball this year. No uniforms will be handed out to players.

If you are not able to attend registration on Thursday night, there will be waiver forms available at Demitasse. Also make sure to follow the Eads Summer Softball & Baseball Facebook page for continuous updates on the program.

In order to have a successful and safe summer of playing ball the following guidelines are in place and should be adhered to by parents, coaches, umpires and players:

  • Up to 25 players on the field at one time
  • Spectators permitted but members from different households should maintain 6 feet separation
  • The league will maintain contact information on all players in case exposure occurs
  • Do not share snacks or water, except in emergencies
  • Games that require extensive travel are strongly discouraged
  • Practice 6 feet social distancing during pick up and drop off of players
  • Masks are encouraged but not required

Currently, only Eads and Lamar have organized their teams in order to play summer ball. If you have any questions concerning the Eads program this year you can send a message over Facebook or call Billy Koehler at 719-688-2964 or Sean Lening at 619-688-6488.

Although it may not look the same this summer at least the summertime night lights will be shining bright, and children will once again hear those wonderful words, “Play Ball!” being bellowed out by the umpire as it has been for the last 60 years.

Cover: Bailey Sierra slides in safe at home during 10U state softball action in Elizabeth - Photo credit: Jessica Sierra

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