Plan for summer 2020 ball released

City of Grant planning July 1 start date for games

The City of Grant has allowed the 2020 Summer Ball season to continue under strict guidelines from the Governor.

City Superintendent Edward Dunn, City Attorney Tawna Holmstedt, Parks and Recreation Director Brittany Brott and Mayor Lisa Schmitt made the decision to continue with summer ball.

With the question of the pool’s opening up in the air, they wanted to have some sort of a functional program in the summer for the kids. The pool opening will be discussed again at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

There will be strict guidelines coaches, team members and family will have to follow in order for practices and games to be as safe as possible.

Teams will be allowed to begin practice starting June 1 so long as they adhere to the following guidelines:

• Dugout use will not be allowed.

• Players’ items should be lined up against the fence, at least six feet apart.

• Parents must remain in their cars during practice and during drop off and pick up.

• Players should use their own gloves, helmets and bats as much as possible.

• Coaches are responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained between players. Coaches shall also maintain additional spacing between players while playing catch, changing drills and absolutely no congregating of players while waiting to bat.

• Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume before, during and after practice. No shared coolers or drinking fountains.

• Players must bring their own snacks to consume before, during and after practice. No shared or communal snacks.

• Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice.

• Only one team shall practice at a time.

Teams will be allowed to hold games beginning July 1 under the Governor’s guidelines. 

The same guidelines used for practices are expected to be followed, as well as several additional rules:

• Coaches must designate an adult who is responsible for ensuring players are seated in their chairs unless they are actively participating in the game.

• Fan attendance is limited to household members of the players on the team.

• No use of bleachers for fans. Fans must bring their own chairs or stand.

• Fans shall keep six feet of social distancing between different household units.

• No fan seating or standing is allowed in the area from behind home plate to within six feet of the nearest player or within six feet of the farthest player.

• Teams to play next must be provided designated areas for player warm-ups that provide for necessary social distancing.

• Post-game handshakes or interaction between teams are prohibited. No post-game talks at the field are permitted.

• When games end, the leaving team must sanitize the dugout area.

• Fans and players must leave the playing area and return to their cars immediately after the game.

• Fans for upcoming games must remain in their cars during player warmups. They will be permitted to come to the field once the team they are there to watch enters the designated seating area.

• Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized regularly while players and fans are present.

• Markings should be placed on the ground to ensure individuals waiting to use the restroom are spaced six feet apart.

• Concessions stands are not allowed to be open.

• Only one game shall be played at a time.

Coaches found in violation of any of the rules and regulations will first be given a verbal warning, second a written warning and third will result in the coach being prohibited from participating in the season.

According to Dunn, a Google document has been created for tracking violations. 

If someone calls in with a report of violations, the report will be verified, then tracked. Dunn and Brott will be enforcing the regulations.

Beyond strict social distancing and sanitization rules, the ball season will be altered regarding how games are planned.

City of Grant ball teams will not participate in the Tri-County League this year and will not travel. 

Dunn hopes by reducing travel, risk will also be reduced while still allowing local kids to have a summer program to participate in.

“We would play teams such as Hershey, Paxton, Sutherland, Imperial and even throw Ogallala into the mix,” Dunn said. 

“We just feel like there’s too much of an area there where we could be inviting the virus into our area. I’d like for us to stay at zero.”

The registration deadline for the 2020 Summer Ball season has been extended to May 27 to allow parents to have more time to sign up, as well as drop out if they choose. There is no fee associated with the ball season this year.

Coaches and game schedules have not been decided yet. Coaches will be selected sometime next week, while game details will be determined the day of each game.

For T-Ball, there will be two boys teams as well as two girls teams. Girls ages 5-8 may join T-Ball, and they cannot turn 9 before Aug. 1. Boys ages 5-7 will be in the T-Ball group, and they cannot have turned 8 before May 1.

The Pony teams will be played intramurally. 

There will not be a player pitching, rather a coach from each team will be designated to pitch throughout the game. 

Girls ages 9-11 are welcome on the Pony teams, and cannot turn 12 before Aug. 1. Boys ages 8-10 may join the Pony teams, and cannot have turned 11 before May 1.

The Junior girls and Peewee boys games will be played intramurally, again with a coach designated for pitching. 

Girls ages 12-14 are welcome to join the Junior team, and cannot turn 15 before Jan. 1, 2021. 

Boys ages 11-13 can join the Peewee team so long as they did not turn 14 before May 1.

By following the rules and regulations laid out by the governor and the City of Grant, the 2020 Summer Ball Season can continue in as safe a manner as possible. 

The city desires to do the best it can to provide a summer activity for the children of the community.


The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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Grant NE 69140