Bossier City, Shreveport postpone baseball/softball until Phase II

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Bossier Little League and Dixie baseball and softball teams will have to wait until June 5 to get back on the city’s playing fields.

In a Friday news release, Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker and Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins announced that all summer sports activities will be postponed during Phase I of the re-opening.

Phase I officially began Friday. If all goes according to plan, Phase II will begin June 5. Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will make the announcement June 1.

Friday’s announcement comes in the wake of the LHSAA’s decision to postpone summer workouts for all sports until June 8. 

It is also consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which states, “Most organized activities and sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer, and football that are held on park fields, open areas, and courts are not recommended during times in which individuals are encouraged or required to practice social distancing.” 

“As Bossier City facilities begin to return to more normal operations under Phase One, our Parks and Recreation Department will be working to make sure the ball fields are ready for anticipated play in early June,” Walker said in the release.

“Baseball requires using a shared ball, as well as shared helmets and bats. It also creates social distancing concerns for spectators and players alike. Offensive and defensive players are frequently required to share a base,” the release states.

“While direct physical contact is minimal among older baseball players, younger children tend to pile on one another in pursuit of the ball. Since children can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, the prudent decision is to postpone baseball until at least June 5, 2020.”

According to their Facebook pages, both Bossier Little League and Bossier Dixie plan on resuming play.

On its Facebook page, Benton Athletics posted earlier this week: “BASEBALL IS COMING SOON!! We are working hard to determine the next steps at this time.”

However, Haughton Athletics announced on its Facebook page that it’s cancelling its 2020 baseball/softball season.

“Our goal was to give the kids a quality summer season,” the post states. “However, we were informed our complex would not be opening in Phase 1 of the reopening, making our time lines uncertain.  We are a volunteer-run organization, and a significant number of our volunteer coaches stated they would not be participating in a summer season.  When parents were polled, many of you stated your child would not play in a summer season.  We want to comply with all state orders regarding social distancing, which will make playing burdensome and difficult.  At this point, we have chosen to be cautious and keep the safety of our organization and players as our main concern.”

Haughton Athletics plays its games at the Lawson “Bo” Brandon Sports Complex in Princeton. It is operated in conjunction with the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

The Police Jury announced Wednesday that the park is closed to practice or team activities, but individuals are invited to use the south playing fields and the batting cage.

The Louisiana Little League released its resumption plan for regular season and postseason play for Phases I, II and III on Monday.

“Louisiana Little League will conform to the guidelines of physical distancing, cleaning/disinfecting, and PPE that is recommended by the CDC; established through the governor’s executive order and the Louisiana Office of the state Fire Marshal,” the plan’s introduction states.

Among the procedures and guidelines for Phase I: A limit of two parents/attendees per player at a complex, with appropriate mask and PPE; strong discouragement of the use of shared equipment; coaches, umpires and league officials required to wear face masks; all team and gate paid online or by another method prior to arriving at the park.

Also, only nine members of a team will be permitted in a dugout and no team/player handshakes or high fives will be allowed. Group/huddle prayers between teams will also not be permitted.

No concessions will be allowed in Phase I but will be in Phase II. Also, collecting fees at the gate will be allowed in Phase II.

The restrictions on team/player handshakes, high fives and huddles will remain in Phase II.

For the complete list of procedures, go to louisianalittleleague.org.

The 2020 Little League World Series and regional tournaments have already been cancelled.