Despite the American Legion’s cancellation of its national regional baseball tournaments and world series, a season is still being planned in Ohio.
Sidney Post 217 baseball committee chairman Bill Lonsbury said the Ohio American Legion is moving ahead with plans for a revised schedule. The national organization announced its postseason cancellation last week.
After the national organization’s cancellation, the Ohio American Legion department initially posted on Facebook its season was canceled. Lonsbury received clarification on Wednesday from the state American Legion baseball commission that the department’s online announcement wasn’t accurate.
The details of Ohio’s season — including how abbreviated it is — are still being determined. Sidney Post 217 normally begins its season sometime shortly after Memorial Day.
Lonsbury said the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s decision on whether to conduct a spring sports season will impact the Ohio American Legion’s plans. Current group gathering restrictions by the Ohio Department of Health will also have to be lifted in order for games to be played.
The national organization’s decision to cancel its regional tournaments and world series was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization said in a press release last week it “is facing an improbable situation,” with differing public health regulations across the county
Though Ohio is currently planning a season, 32 other state programs have already canceled their seasons, and the national organization said “several more” states have indicated cancellation is probable.
Each state department manages its own regular season, and the winner of each state’s tournament advances to one of eight national regional tournaments. The winners of the regional tournaments then advance to the organization’s world series, which was scheduled to be played August 13 to 18 in Shelby, North Carolina.
“Many baseball coaches are unable to complete prerequisite league play scheduled between May and July due to the closure of schools and playing facilities across the nation,” national adjutant Dan Wheeler said in a release.
“In August, more than 500 players, coaches and volunteer staff are scheduled to travel and participate in (regional tournaments and our world series), collectively attracting thousands of fans and spectators.
“Many of these individuals are of a high-risk demographic. …The decision to cancel was extremely difficult but deemed necessary, first and foremost in the interest of health and safety, and in the face of uncertainty.”
After the national organization’s announcement and the Ohio American Legion’s subsequent online posting, several other area programs announced their cancellation, including Napoleon Post 300. The Napoleon program announced on Wednesday it plans to play an abbreviated season starting July 1.
Ohio teams are split into eight regions, which conduct their own postseason tournaments. The winner of each region advances to the state tournament, which is scheduled this season for July 29 to Aug. 2 in Lancaster, Ohio.
Sidney Post 217 won the Region 2 tournament and earned a state berth for the third time in four years last season. The squad finished third in the state tournament and finished the season 18-15 overall.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.