The Dothan Department of Leisure Services stepped back up to the plate Friday and decided to offer city baseball and softball leagues this summer starting with practices on June 1 and games on June 15.
The decision comes two days after DLS announced it was canceling baseball and softball leagues until at least July 15 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
All of that changed when Gov. Kay Ivey gave the green light on Thursday to allow athletic activities throughout the state, including youth baseball and softball, to resume subject to social distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines.
A reasonable sanitation schedule of all shared equipment and surfaces will be maintained, according to a release by DLS. Six feet social distancing guidelines are to be maintained among players, officials and spectators when possible.
DLS athletic coordinator Tyson Carter said the department had previously been asked to make plans for the next couple of months. The decision made Wednesday was based on information they had at the time with restrictions the Governor’s office and the CDC had in place.
“There were a lot of things under those guidelines we weren’t going to be able to do,” Carter said. “We had called for the end of the regular season for baseball and softball and canceling any tournaments through the middle of July.”
When the loosened guidelines were released by Gov. Ivey on Thursday, the department decided to reevaluate its decision.
“She made the statement that practices could begin as of 5 o’clock today (Friday) and any competition beginning June 15,” Carter said. “So we went back to the drawing board and we’re going to try and play league baseball and softball this year.”
Carter said the department will have plans in place to keep “reasonable sanitation” of shared equipment and shared surfaces.
“We’re going to monitor that, but we’re going to instruct out coaches and educate them on this stuff,” Carter said.
Restrooms and concession stands will also be opened once the games resume.
Youth league baseball and softball teams already had sign-ups and practices were ongoing before the coronavirus shut things down.
Carter realizes some of those who signed up will not be interested in continuing this season.
“We’re reaching out to everybody to find out who still wants to play,” Carter said. “We’re going to suffer some attrition there because a lot of people have probably just written it off.
“There are going to be people who aren’t comfortable with coming back out in crowds yet and having their kids in it. That’s just going to be part of it.”
There will be no postseason tournaments for Dothan city league teams. Carter said the priority was having a regular season, which would normally be ending this week.
“We’re concerned about everybody that wants to play having a season to play ball,” Carter said. “We’re looking to get in anywhere from four to six weeks of games.
“We’re going to have practice schedules for everybody. We have said for our purposes, practices will begin on June 1.”
Besides youth leagues, adult softball leagues will also be able to resume.
There will be a meeting for men’s industrial, men’s church and women’s church leagues on June 2 at 6:15 p.m. at the Officials Building at the Westgate Softball Complex. All three leagues will meet at the same time.
All three of the leagues will play a 10-game season and an entry fee of $400 is due the night of the scheduled meeting.