Some area baseball and softball players have already returned on fields around the region and more will start playing games in June.
Sporting events hadn’t been allowed in Ohio since mid-March after the state banned mass gatherings due efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. While no other sports are allowed to have games, Gov. Mike DeWine announced earlier this month baseball and softball were permitted to play beginning Tuesday.
Though the Ohio American Legion department canceled its season and Sidney Post 217 followed suit, some area players will be playing this summer for Piqua Post 184 and Troy Post 43, which are organizing seasons independently of the state department.
Piqua Post 184 played its first game on Thursday at Hardman Field and beat Springfield Armaloy 5-3. Among area athletes playing for Post 184 are Alex Keller (Lehman Catholic), Carson Regula (Jackson Center), Jack Olberding (Minster) and Will Eversole (Versailles).
“It kind of crept up really,” Piqua Post 184 coach Justin Jennings said. “We got the word to not play, then to play, then not to play, and then it was kind of like ‘well, if we’re going to do this, then we are going to do it.’ And a little influence from (Troy Post 43 coach) Frosty (Brown) helped me out a little bit. I have a hard time not competing with him and really look forward to it.”
Among area players athletes playing for Troy Post 43 are Darius Boeke (Sidney) and Grant Saunders (Russia).
In addition to summer baseball and softball clubs and traveling teams, some high school programs will be taking the field.
Though the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled spring sports in April, some area high school softball programs are organizing independent summer games, including Sidney, Anna, Fort Loramie, Russia, Jackson Center, Lehman Catholic and Minster.
Any team playing is supposed to adhere to Ohio Department of Health regulations recently put in place. Among the regulations: players are supposed to stay six feet apart when not playing, no equipment can be shared, no spitting or high-fives are allowed and umpires can’t touch equipment.