Travel ball teams take to the diamond for summer action

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While most sports are still trying to figure out ways to work around COVID-19 concerns, Madison Ridgeland Youth Baseball and the Mississippi Travel League are ready to get the show back on the road. 

Even though COVID-19 concerns are still high, Ridgeland Recreation and Parks is making sure to take the proper precautions and safety measures so players and parents alike can get back to enjoying baseball, while still retaining a safe environment. 

“We’re really excited to get back to playing ball for the season,” said Brent Watson, athletic coordinator for Ridgeland Recreation and Parks. “We have a ton of people that are also excited, and we’ve gone through some protocol with coaches like sanitizing dugouts and removing the bleachers to help with social distancing. People can bring their own chairs and space themselves out.”

The only thing that hasn’t been reopened are the concession stands. Watson says this is an extra precaution since concessions usually draw larger crowds. 

“The players on the field are separated a good distance, but the majority of the concern is the amount of people coming into the facility. We’ve spaced our games out to give time for the crowds to leave and for new crowds and teams to come in, so there will be less games overall,” Watson said. “We’ve done some good things to be able to get back to quality league for our participants and parents. I know that since everyone’s been home for so long, they’re excited to come back out again, we’re looking forward to being a part of that.”

Derrik Showe, parent of a player for the Houston Astros youth team, is happy to see his son play ball again. 

“I think it’s good for my son to get out and get some activity going,” Showe said. “I’m all for this starting back up. I’d rather have him out here doing this than sitting at home. It is always better to be out and active.” 

Showe feels that the league should be fine as long as everyone follows regulations. 

“As long as the league takes the proper safety measures, we’ll all be fine,” he said. “Everything will have to go back to normal eventually.”

When it comes to the travel leagues, Brad Brady and his son Parker are very excited to hop back into playing some ball. Parker plays in the USSSA and Grand-Slam tournaments, and Brady recently took him to Winona for one of these tournaments. Because of COVID-19 regulations, the tournament was only one day and had fewer teams.  

“As parents, we’re a little uneasy about all of this starting up again because of the crowds which are typical for these tournaments,” Brady said. “But after reading the publications that the organizers have published, I feel a lot more comfortable. ”

Parker is really looking forward to playing again. 

“It’s been a while since we played due to quarantine,” he said. “I’m glad to see my friends, play ball, and have some fun.”

“It’s good for Parker to be around his teammates again, especially after being stuck inside and missing school,” Brady said. ”We’re both looking forward to this and to MLB starting. Hopefully we’ll have some kind of season.”


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