Youth baseball/softball will look different when play opens

Sports

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — For a lot of people, youth sports bring back memories.

“Probably a few years ago when I made a double play. I was at shortstop, I caught the ball and threw it over to first, really bad throw, but anyways, still a double play!”

“I like that I get to be out here with my friends all the time, and I like to play baseball.”

The fields at the Killian Sports Complex are bare for now. Practice fields a polar opposite.

“I was swimming in my pool a lot.” “Which would you like more, baseball or pool?” “Baseball.”

But the chance to play does come with some precautionary differences, especially at home plate. Typically, you have the batter, catcher and umpire all here for an at-bat. Now, the umpire will be behind the pitcher and the catcher will be six feet behind the batter.

“We are still getting a chance to play, which is ideal for the park board, but we really want to make sure it’s a safe environment for every one to play in.”

With the catcher being six feet back, there will be no steals, bunts or drop third strikes in baseball and softball. There will also be no lead-offs in baseball, at least to begin with.

“It doesn’t mean that halfway through this summer session, or whatever, that if the health department comes out with different guidelines. We will follow those guidelines.”

“Having a pitcher and catcher is a pretty intricate relationship. The kids are still going to learn just being out here and it is about having fun. And we are going to take the guidelines we have and play.”

Social-distancing guidelines will be followed parkwide, meaning bleacher seating will be sparse for parents trying to catch a game, so lawn chairs are recommended. And concessions will be open.

Youth baseball and softball begin games on Monday. The Mustangs are expecting to hit the field on Friday.

“Wait, next week? Oh, no.” “Does that scare you?” “A little, I didn’t know we are playing next week. I thought we were playing in like two weeks or a month.”

More guidelines from the Springfield – Greene County Park board can be found here, rules can be found here.

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