The St. Catharines Minor Baseball Association is back in business.
The Cobras hit the field Tuesday night for a rep practice and by next week plan to have all 40 teams across three levels — rep, select and house league — up and running.
“We’re excited to get baseball back for the kids,” Cobras secretary and past president Ryan Villers said.
Under current provincial COVID rules, teams are permitted two groups of 10 players on the field, as long as the groups are distanced and do not cross over.
“The COVID rules themselves are quite straightforward,” Cobras president Matt Zimmerman said. “We’re prepared on the COVID level to provide a safe baseball season for all the kids.”
Zimmerman admits the association has been flying by the seat of their pants as they adjust to the new normal.
“The provincial government has made quite a few changes and we’ve had to adapt to those changes quite fast so anything we’ve had planned in the past has gone out the window,” he said. “We have new things to worry about.
“It’s hectic with OBA (Ontario Baseball Association) making statements and the provincial government making statements. We have to follow both our governing bodies so when sometimes when they aren’t working together that makes things difficult for us.”
Zimmerman has been told not to expect to be able to play games until July 5, at the earliest. In the mean time, teams will have access to fields as well as the batting cage at Alex McKenzie Park.
“These kids haven’t had practices for over a year so we’re ready to get out there and have some organized baseball,” Zimmerman said. “They have been out of school for so long and aren’t getting that physical activity they would have been getting in a gym class, so our first return to sport on the field is definitely just getting the kids more active, running around, throwing the ball around, and eventually having full practices and games in July.
“We have almost 400 kids and the fields are ready. We’re just waiting for the government to give us the go ahead to get back to competition. At least now we can get back on the field and get some activity for the kids.”
When the season does resume, the association is planning to run until Sept. 19.
“We’re hoping everyone can go out to Grape and Wine after a full baseball season,” Zimmerman said.
The Cobras are still looking for coaches in the 4U, 6U, 7U, 9U divisions, which are slated to begin next week.
For more details, visit http://www.stcatharinesbaseball.ca.
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