Before the first pitch was thrown, the Prince George Youth Baseball Association has struck out.
COVID-19 restrictions have left the league no choice but to cancel the 2020 house league season.
“Our house season only runs until the end of June and in order to get that in, that wouldn’t really be a season,” PGYBA president Carmen Martin.
“We’ve cancelled the summer all-star season as well. We got the heads-up last week on what the return to play guidelines coming from Baseball BC would be and none of it involves game play. So we made the hard decision to just cancel it and if we can offer some alternate programming over the summer months we will do so.”
The league will refund all league fees provided an email is sent before July 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents can also choose to defer refunds and keep their kids registered for the 2021 season which will hold their spot, even if the player moves up an age division and it requires a more expensive registration fee.
Martin received the updated provincial guidelines on Monday from the provincial health office which limit any field activities to no more than 10 players and two coaches at one gathering. The new order applies from June to September.
“We’re at June 8 now and it doesn’t look like there’s any real end in sight to social distancing,” said Martin. “It’s not normal, they (Baseball BC) don’t want equipment shared and don’t want more than a certain amount of people.”
The city announced last week that city-owned fields are open to the public but with no organized baseball activity and no user groups on then this spring Martin said some of the ball diamonds, especially those at Volunteer Field in the Hart Highway area, are in need of some maintenance, mostly to remove weeds growing on the infield areas.
She is hopeful the league can offer smaller group activities such as developmental camps on the ball diamonds this summer to keep kids interested in baseball.
“It would be nice if we could find a way to get kids out working on their skills with some friends and that’s our goal, to keep those kids who are serious about the sport continuing through the summer,” said Martin, now in her fourth year as PGYBA president.
Last year, PGYBA produced three provincial champions, winning the peewee 13 U single-A, bantam 15 U double-A and midget 18 U double-A provincial crowns.
“We just came off three provincial wins for this association last summer and you’d hate to see your hard work kind of go backwards a step because you had to take a year off,” said Martin.
“Nobody expected a world pandemic, obviously, and we just have roll with what we’ve got and if it returns to some degree of game play towards the end of summer in early September maybe some of the kids can participate. But I don’t see that happening.”