PLAY BALL! High school baseball, softball resume

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Schools across the state have the green light to move ahead with summer sports.

Last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds cleared the way for schools to have summer activities, including baseball and softball, beginning June 1.

“We trust that our administrators, coaches, umpires and fans will responsibly follow the guidelines in place to keep themselves and each other safe,” Iowa High School Athletic Association Executive Director Tom Keating said. “This is terrific news and is a step toward getting our student-athletes reconnected to the activities that mean so much to them.”

After Reynolds’ announcement, the Iowa Department of Education released a document providing re-opening guidance for schools.

Practices are allowed to begin on June 1, with a number of restrictions.

Those restrictions include no usage of dugouts during practices and keeping players’ equipment lined up at least 6 feet apart; parents remaining in their cars if they stay at practices; players using their own equipment; coaches ensuring social distancing between players as much as possible; players bringing their own beverages; and sanitizing equipment before and after each practice.

When games commence on June 15, some of the restrictions change.

Dugouts can be used for games only, and schools must limit the use of bleachers for fans.

Schools should encourage fans to bring their own chairs or stand, practicing social distancing between different households.

“We’ve been reviewing what the Department of Education said and creating our own document,” Mid-Prairie Activities Director Tyler Hotz said. “We’re looking at what steps we need to take at Mid-Prairie to make sure we’re following the guidelines.”

Athletic directors from the River Valley Conference, of which Mid-Prairie is a member, met last week to discuss rules and schedules, Hotz said.

He provided a tentative schedule for Mid-Prairie baseball and softball, explaining that both baseball and softball games will be played at the same site:

• June 15 – vs. Northeast

• June 18 – vs. Tipton

• June 19 – at North Cedar

• June 22 – vs. Durant

• June 25 – at Regina

• June 26 – at Cascade

• June 29 – at West Liberty

• July 2 – at West Branch

• July 3 – vs. Wilton

• July 6 – vs. Monticello

• July 8 – at Anamosa

• July 10 – vs. Camanche (softball only)

• July 11 - First Round Baseball Districts (unofficial)

• July 13 - First Round Softball Regionals (unofficial)

Hillcrest Academy, Highland and Lone Tree all play in the north division of the Southeast Iowa Super Conference.

Superintendents from the conference schools met last week to discuss plans.

“The superintendents decided that baseball and softball will be played at opposite sites the same evenings in an effort to keep crowd sizes down,” Hillcrest Principal Dwight Gingerich said.

He said that the superintendents’ recommendations have been passed to the schools’ athletic directors, who met on May 20.

“The conference is working to establish how things are going to happen regarding scheduling,” he said.

Schedules will be posted on the conference website as soon as they are completed.

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