The Ohio American Legion announced on Monday that it has canceled its 2020 baseball season, and Sidney Post 217 baseball committee chairperson Bill Lonsbury said the program won’t play this year.
“We are all disappointed but the health and well-being of our players and their families have to be first and foremost,” Lonsbury said. “We will now start planning for and looking ahead to next season.”
The Legion’s Ohio department was holding out hope on conducting a season and its normal regional and state tournaments despite the national organization’s cancelation of its postseason tournaments in mid-April.
Ohio Legion department commander Roger Friend said in a press release the organization didn’t feel a season could be conducted given the state government’s current stay-at-home orders, which are designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The state Legion department wasn’t the only organization that canceled its season. The ACME Baseball Congress board of directors announced on Tuesday it has canceled its season.
ACME, which organizes summer baseball for Ohio high school programs, also cited health concerns in its announcement in addition to the Ohio Department of Health’s order that all school facilities remain closed through June 30.
“However, with the most recent updates and restrictions …as well as continuing social distancing measures, our organization believes it not practical for us to operate in good faith and purpose for the overall well-being of the student athletes we seek to serve. …It is with regret we do this but with high hopes for a return to normalcy for the summer of 2021.”
Despite the American Legion’s Ohio department and Sidney Post 217’s cancelation, some area players may take the field for other squads this summer.
Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown and Piqua Post 184 coach Justin Jennings told AIM Media Midwest on Tuesday those programs are hoping to play some games. Some Shelby County players have played for both squads in recent years.
Current group restrictions in place will have to be lifted for either squad to play. Gatherings of 10 or more people are currently barred.
“We’re still going to try to figure out a way to do this,” Brown said. “There’s still a lot of ‘what ifs,’ of course. We’re hoping the governor opens things up a bit more by the end of the month, and I’m trying to create some tournaments to fill some of the voids. I’m getting the emails of all the Legion coaches across Ohio and seeing what their plans are. I figured the sooner I can do that, the sooner we can figure something out.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.