Submitted by the Muskoka Hornets Baseball Association
In this very difficult time, thank goodness for small victories.
After an incredible amount of preparation, the Muskoka Hornets’ five travel teams were ready to get back on the diamond to train starting July 2 and hope that later this summer there will be game play.
The Hornets Board recently adopted Baseball Ontario’s protocol for return to training, a requirement for all associations to ensure the necessary safety measures are in place to protect players, coaches, and family members from COVID 19. In addition to maintaining attendance records for all in-person gatherings, team officials are required to ensure all participants sanitize hands every 30 minutes and keep all equipment clean.
“It is very impressive the work done by Baseball Ontario to ensure a safe and healthy environment for minor baseball to return in this province. My hat is off to the volunteers that put the protocols in place, and we are committed to ensuring compliance with the additional rules,” commented Peter Haynes, president of the Muskoka Hornets.
The Muskoka Hornets will field five travel baseball teams in 2020 with players aged 8-18 years old. Training for the season was halted in February and the entire season was in doubt with the pandemic spreading like wildfire. Thankfully, as the situation normalized in Ontario, officials began to prepare for a return to the diamond including the potential for game play later in the summer.
“I am very pleased that our season was not lost completely and we have a chance to play some games if all goes well and the trend in COVID infections continue to improve in Ontario. I have seven players graduating out of minor baseball this year and the thought of them not having a chance to return to the playing field after losing high school graduation and prom was motivation enough to do anything to keep the hope alive for a return to baseball this summer,” stated Joe Hickes, head coach of the Hornets 18U AA team. “For the health of all children, it is important that minor sports return as long as it is safe to do so.”
Each of the five Muskoka Hornets travel teams will start with training in groups of up to 10 on two separate areas of the diamond. Eventual return to game play is dependent on gathering sizes increasing in Ontario. Other provinces in Canada have already moved to larger gathering sizes and games have started. If this occurs in Ontario, then the Hornets plan to organize exhibition games with other association teams. There will not be any tournament play this summer and no provincial championships.
Meanwhile, the Hornets still hope to be able to offer a modified house league program focused on skill development later this summer in Huntsville, as well as to host its annual summer baseball camp, a staple for many local baseball enthusiasts. Stay tuned for additional updates.
For information on the Muskoka Hornets, please visit hornetsbaseball.ca.
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