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City prepares to begin play
Terry Beard.jpg
Beard

Midway began its softball season in late June. 

Morrison and Centertown got in swing on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. 

Next up is the McMinnville city baseball and softball leagues, which have a tentative start date of late July or early August, according to organizer Terry Beard.

“Getting the leagues ready is a lot of work under normal conditions and it’s even more work with COVID-19,” said Beard. “We have a lot to do in a short amount of time, but we should be ready to start play in about three weeks.”

Beard says 270 have registered to play ball and he wants to do everything possible to ensure their safety and the safety of their family members.

“We have grandparents raising kids or bringing kids to practice because mom and dad are at work,” said Beard. “We want to keep everyone safe and don’t want the kids to bring anything home.”

Among the safety precautions, Beard said bleachers will be removed from around fields where possible to discourage large groups from sitting together. He said each team will be given its own ball and those balls will be sanitized between games. When not in the field, Beard said players will be asked to spread out behind dugouts to ease crowding.

“We’re going to ask our coaches to ask all the standard safety questions to players before practice and before games,” said Beard. “Have you been running a fever? Do you feel sick? Have you been exposed to anyone you know has COVID-19?”

There will be extra questions and extra layers of protection for safety, but the underlying goal remains unchanged.

“We want to get these kids out there playing ball,” said Beard. “We’re going to give them a full season and a tournament if at all possible.”

Even with plans being finalized, Beard realizes things may suddenly change with coronavirus numbers rising every day. Asked if he’s thought about more cases leading to an abbreviated season, he said, “We’re concerned about that as well.”