Increased Safety Measures & Four-Team State Tournament On Deck For State A Legion Season
In a sport where so many things are the uniform, baseball coaches in South Dakota know they'll have to be flexible to have any kind of season.
"We felt like we were just trying to keep our head above water and hopefully just stay afloat. And it looks like we might be getting a little bit closer to that." Brandon Valley Head Coach Jeremy VanHeel says.
Uniforms were a key point of contention when the American Legion's national headquarters suspended play nationwide. Removing legion patches and identifiers would have been expensive, which in part spurred yesterday's South Dakota legion decision allowing them to play without the national endorsement.
"Yeah it certainly saved us some dough because you're looking at, we have four uniform tops, if we were to maybe just get one for this year, you're looking maybe $50 a kid." Sioux Falls West Head Coach Charlie Dubanoski says.
Prior to that decision teams were busy drafting safety measures for athletes, coaches and umpires and fans.
"Looking into where fans are going to sit during youth games and stuff like that. Having it where the dugouts are going to be a little bigger. People aren't around the dugouts so the kids can have a safe distance away. Non-sharing equipment is going to be a big thing this year." VanHeel says.
"Parents are driving kids to all the games. I know I heard something where they want everybody in the outfield instead of neccessarily all behind the backstop. No high fives, things like that. No shaking hands after the games. It's going to be more like a tip of the cap." Dubanoski says.
All of this requires communities to allow teams to use their fields.
"Every community is different and we need kind of to continue to understand that. That some teams might take this a little slower than others and some are rocking and rolling and are going to be ready to play games here in like a week." VanHeel says.
If all goes as planned, practice would begin around June 1st, with games following in the next two weeks, eventually ending with a reduced four team state tournament whose host will be awarded based on the season's rankings.
"The thought with that with the coaches was to try and not have a bunch of teams in one spot doing the two super regionals and the four-team state tournament." Dubanoski says.
Though it will look different, in many ways, it won't be.
"Really they just want to play and obviously, like you said, being a South Dakota state champion is essentially what the goal is. That's what all those guys kind of dream of and want." Dubanoski says.
Sioux Falls Legion, along with other youth sports, is awaiting a May 29th decision from the city on whether they can return to the fields.
For more on requirements for Legion teams to proceed check out yesterday's coverage in the related links tab above.