After months without high school sports, area teams took to the baseball and softball diamonds Monday night for the opening of the summer sports season.
Teams only had two weeks of practice before their first games, a fact showing up in a number of blowouts.
There were new rules for both players and fans to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.
Umpires did not carry spare baseballs and softballs. When a ball went out of play, the defensive team supplied the pitcher with a new ball.
Players were supposed to maintain 6 feet of social distancing between each other in the dugouts, which were extended down the foul lines. That rule was, for the most part, not followed closely by teams.
Fans spread out down the foul lines in chairs with 6 feet separation between families. Concession stands were not open.
Yet as the players took the field, it was evident that they were happy to be playing again.
Mid-Prairie was locked in a standoff with Northeast for the first three innings before the Golden Hawks erupted for six runs in the fourth inning, followed by four runs in the fifth, which ended the game due to the 10-run rule.
Brad Tornow pitched all five innings, fanning 13 Northeast batters along the way.
Lone Tree had an equally big night against Columbus with a 17-2 victory to start the season. Columbus took the field with a two-run lead after the top of the first inning. It was all the scoring Columbus would do for the evening.
Lone Tree came back in the bottom of the first with four runs, added three in the second and one more in the third.
The Lions then erupted in the fourth inning with nine runs.
Highland and Hillcrest had the only close game of the night. Highland led most of the game, but Hillcrest battled back for an 8-5 victory.
Mid-Prairie came up on the short end of an 11-0 score against Northeast.
Highland topped Hillcrest 12-0, fueled by a 10-run fourth inning.
Lone Tree recorded a 5-1 victory against Columbus. Columbus was first on the scoreboard with one run in the second inning. It was their only run of the night. The Lady Lions matched that run in the top of the third, added two runs in the fifth and single runs in the sixth and seventh to notch the opening night win.