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Youth sports possible, but uncertainties remain

There will be no Dixie Youth Baseball (DYB) Division I and Division II World Series this year, but Charlotte County Dixie Youth (CCDY) is still looking to have regular season and possibly state-level play.

For now, Dixie Softball Inc. is still making plans for area, state and World Series competition.

DYB Commissioner William Wade recently provided a statement in which he said the DYB National Board of Directors convened an online meeting May 4 and canceled the 2020 DYB Division I and Division II World Series in Laurel, Mississippi. Laurel will be the host for the 2021 Division I and II World Series. Other youth baseball programs — Protect Our Nation’s Youth (PONY) Baseball, Little League, American Amateur Baseball Congress — canceled their 2020 World Series the week prior.

“Most important to Dixie Youth Baseball is to provide regular season play, which offers the greatest opportunity for all of our children to participate,” Wade said. “Fundamentally, regular season play is the foundation of our program. Regular season play is where all youth can play the great American game of baseball, learn life’s lessons and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

CCDY Commissioner Kris Tuck said Monday, May 18, the area league is hoping to start games June 15, but nothing is decided yet.

“The state directors will be meeting to discuss further on May 25,” he said. “They have submitted a plan for us to start on June 15 and run until the second week in August.”

Wade noted in his statement that governors have established guidelines to safely and strategically open their states while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

“Most states have issued orders to allow some outdoor sports to resume but limit the number of participants who can play together at one time,” he said. “There is currently no guidance as to how soon states will allow expansion in outdoor sports activities, which leaves significant uncertainty as to when baseball can resume.”

Much uncertainty remains on the softball side as well. Charlotte County Dixie Softball (CCDS) suspended all of its organized activities earlier in the year, and CCDS Vice President Scotty Hamlett said Monday he did not have any new information to share.

“I wish I did have some good news,” he said.

On May 9, Dixie Softball Inc. announced on its Facebook page that it is still planning on offering its league’s regular season, tournament and World Series play.

“Things could change and if they do, Dixie Softball will let its leagues know about it,” officials said in the release.

Wade’s statement, which pertained solely to DYB, addressed the possibility of state postseason play, if time permits this summer.

“If regular season play begins on or before June 1, some states may offer 2020 postseason play for those leagues who choose to participate,” he stated. “However, tournaments will only be available in some states based on the state, county and city guidelines for reopening baseball facilities. Some states may not reopen baseball to allow for league play.”