PORTSMOUTH — This time next week, there indeed will be baseball back in Scioto County.
That’s because, with baseball being classified as a “low-contact” sport and open to “re-opening” effective on May 26, the Portsmouth Post 23 American Legion team plans to play a season — which leads off with tryouts set for Saturday, May 30.
In text messages on Monday, and posted on the Post 23 Twitter account, Matt Miller —the current Post 23 General Manager and former head coach — confirmed that “although there is no official Legion season, we’re trying our best to help kids play baseball this summer.”
Starting Saturday, June 13, the program will begin playing an estimated 25-to-30 game schedule for its Junior and Senior squads, as the club —which actually Miller said still needs permission from the American Legion to use the Post 23 name since there is no official Legion season — is giving players which missed out on their 2020 high school seasons an opportunity to play.
Miller said “this will be an independent season following American Legion Baseball rules and guidelines”.
In response to the coronavirus threat, the Ohio High School Athletic Association cancelled this past season —as its mandatory no-contact period for baseball and ALL sports originally extended thru May 31.
At the American Legion level, the cancellation dominoes fell their way backwards — as in early April the 2020 American Legion World Series and all eight regional tournaments announced their cancellations.
The awarding of American Legion Baseball scholarships for the year was also suspended.
A month later, on May 4, the Ohio American Legion announced it was cancelling its annual state and region tournaments.
That left ANY Legion season, or any independent league, in severe limbo for the summer — but as part of his “Responsible Restart Ohio” plan, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced last Thursday that any “low-contact” or “non-contact” sports can begin as of Tuesday, May 26.
Baseball obviously qualifies as such, and that prompted a pair of tweets from the Post 23 account, citing “that’s a great thing for summer baseball”.
DeWine’s announcement also prompted a conference call between Post 23 and its other league teams on Sunday, as the Post 23 account and Miller via text messages matched up information on Monday.
Miller said he was in the process of completing the Junior and Senior squad schedules, which will include a region tourney at the end of the season between Portsmouth, Chillicothe (757), Hillsboro (129) and Waverly (142).
The Circleville (134) club — also a regular region member — is not competing this summer, Miller said.
Miller said Portsmouth plans to play Chillicothe, Hillsboro, Jackson, Lancaster, Ashland (Ky.) and Raceland (Ky.) — with both Portsmouth teams taking part in at least two tournaments and possibly a third.
The Senior team will play its home tilts at Branch Rickey Park, as the Junior team is tentatively set to play its games there as well —but Miller said “we’re looking at all options”.
Speaking of Branch Rickey Park, the team tryouts will be conducted there on Saturday, May 30 — from noon until 3:30 p.m. for 17-and-18 year-olds (registration from noon until 12:30 p.m.) and from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. for players 16-and-under (registration from 3 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.).
Due to social distancing guidelines, parents will be asked to leave the complex immediately after registration.
As for those several social distancing measures, teams and individuals are expected to adhere to those mandatory and recommended rules as set forth —of which the basic six-feet of separation rule is required out of all individuals.
Found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Baseball-Softball.pdf, these are not OHSAA regulations, but those created by DeWine’s office.
But social distancing or not, baseball — and the boys of summer — is indeed coming back to Scioto County.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved