Roy Gayle Pony Baseball & Softball gets season underway
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With Illinois now into Phase 4, youth sports can return to play under certain guidelines. Roy Gayle Pony Baseball and Softball started up this weekend.
Normally, the league would be wrapping up around this time. Instead they’re playing a condensed 13-game season with playoffs.
“I love baseball,” said 14-year-old Logan Dove. “I’ve played baseball ever since I could walk pretty much, so it means a lot. Especially after not being able to practice or see teammates for a long time.”
The coronavirus pandemic has played a factor in participants. On average, Roy Gayle operates with roughly 1,000 players. That number, almost cut in half this summer.
“People went on vacation, they didn’t think it was safe to play, things like that,” explained Jarrod Nowling, league president. “We’re happy to have the 600 we have and we’ll keep going.”
Masks are recommended but not required for fans and players. The biggest adjustment, however, only three players can be allowed in the dugout at a time. There are also guidelines in place to continue to fight COVID-19.
“Obviously the symptoms are different for everyone,” said Scott Ward, league vice president. “So we’re asking the players to stay home if they have any of the symptoms, headache, light-headed, any of that kind of stuff. We’re asking the players and the coaches to stay home.”
But despite the challenges the league may face... They're just glad to get back on the diamond.
“We’re just trying to be as safe as possible and just make sure everyone can enjoy the game of baseball but also go home safe and not have to about their families getting sick and that kind of thing,” exclaimed Ward.
“Roy Gayle is like a home away from home for a lot of people,” said Nowling. “I’ve been here since I was a small kid. A lot of families you see here, go through the program over the years. You get to feel comfortable here after a while and they like it so far.”
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