This offseason was like any other for Baker Little League.
Teams were selected, jerseys were on the way, equipment had been requested.
But as the April 18 opening day approached, Baker County, and the rest of the world, were dealt quite a curveball with the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the beginning none of us knew exactly what this thing was going to look like,” said Jason McClaughry, president of the Baker Little League board of directors.“We basically just said to people that were involved with the league and follow the league through the community that we were basically putting everything on hold.”
Baker Little League announced Wednesday afternoon in a post on its Facebook page that it will re-evaluate the situation on June 1 and decide whether to try to proceed.
“No clear decisions about larger group events, like Little League, have yet been issued from the State of Oregon,” the post reads. “We are hoping that more information will soon be forthcoming so we can make the best informed decisions possible for Little League in Baker County. Decisions are being made to ensure the best possible experience for all participants. This starts with the best interest of our youth participants; in particular their health.”
The Little League program will be sending a survey to parents and players to gauge their interest in proceeding with a season.
Although April 18 was supposed to be opening day, Little League organizers started preparing for the 2020 season soon after the 2019 season ended.
“In January we were having coaches open indoor batting facilities over at the high school and having kids who wanted to get extra offseason practice and workouts,” McClaughry said.
As the coronavirus began to spread in March, the Baker Little League board relied on direction from multiple entities, including Little League International and Oregon government officials.
The Baker Little League postponed opening day because it wouldn’t have been possible to comply with social distancing guidelines and limits on the size of gatherings.
Although Little League International has canceled both the Little League World Series and regional tournaments, McClaughry said he remains optimistic that the local season can be salvaged.
“We have the potential to play some games up to September 30th, which is the end of our year,” McClaughry said. “We are optimistic and continue to work towards solutions in ways to make the season happen.”
Though the road remains uncertain, McClaughry said he’s grateful for parents who have showed support.
“Most people have been understanding because it’s affected everybody whether in their business and their daily lives,” McClaughry said.
He said he empathizes with players and parents who have missed out on a traditional spring activity.
“The youth were anticipating baseball season and it was time to play,” McClaughry said. “We hate to see the community not connecting.”
Updates are available on the Baker Little League Facebook page and at www.bakerlittleleague.org