By ALEX SPONSELLER Little League baseball took one major step toward returning to Cranston this past week. As Gov. Gina Raimondo and the State of Rhode Island have begun Phase 2 of reopening due to the coronavirus, that has also opened the door for
By ALEX SPONSELLER Little League baseball took one major step toward returning to Cranston this past week.
As Gov. Gina Raimondo and the State of Rhode Island have begun Phase 2 of reopening due to the coronavirus, that has also opened the door for fields to open and for leagues to begin practicing under new regulations.
Some of those regulations include limiting practices to 15 or fewer participants, athletes using their own equipment, as well as other basic sanitary-related rules and guidelines.
Leagues have now begun to request permits for field use, and many leagues such as Cranston Western, Warwick North and Warwick Continental American have been successful and are kicking things off this week.
“We’re going to follow all of the Phase 2 and city guidelines. Social distancing, coaches wearing facial masks, disinfecting the bathrooms after every use. We’re hoping that after a couple weeks, Phase 3 will include competition, and if it does, we will put our schedule in place. We know it’s going to be a different kind of a season, but our goal is to get these kids out there playing,” said CWLL President Stephen Piscopiello.
CWLL will be holding tryouts later this week and will be starting practicing next week.
Games will not be able to be played until the state officially begins Phase 3, which is currently slated to begin on July 6 after the holiday weekend. So, these leagues are aiming to begin their regular season on that date, or whenever the third phase is officially in effect.
Although there are still a couple of hurdles to jump, Piscopiello is excited to be on track to provide local Little Leaguers a chance to hit the field.
“Especially for 12 year olds, it’s important for them because if they lose their final season, they’ll never get that back. We want to give them that opportunity to play. We have a good core group of board members that have researched everything and understand that it is still out there. The board has been excellent, the feedback has been excellent, they have done a great job keeping it as safe as possible. Safety is our top priority and the board is comfortable with where we are starting,” said Piscopiello.
Piscopiello added: “It’s very good, simply because we are seeing people coming out and wanting to get going. Not just the players, but the coaches and families. We have been cooped up for awhile and the time has come that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s still there, we have to recognize that, and it’s going to be a tedious process, but by following those guidelines we will be able to give these kids the season that they deserve.”
Due to the late start, many leagues, including CWLL, are expecting the season to last until early fall, which may provide kids with even more games this upcoming season.
“We’re going to focus on our recreational program and we won’t be stopping for an All-Star tournament. With those factors, we are projecting to have an even longer season and an expanded playoffs. Playing until September is not unrealistic at all and we have even discussed expanding to add a fall program,” said Piscopiello. “This could actually help us have an even longer season.”