The bats and balls are going to be shelved for a bit longer in Dothan.
All baseball and softball leagues — adult and youth — sanctioned by the Dothan Department of Leisure Services have been canceled through at least the middle of July.
“Spring leagues had not occurred because COVID-19 started, so we kept pushing back, pushing back hoping we might be able to get them in, or have a mini-session of them during the summer,” DLS director Alison Hall said. “But based on the Governor’s orders, we’ve realized it’s not going to be possible, so we’re just not going to have any leagues this summer until at least into the middle of July.”
While that basically wipes out thoughts of any youth leagues in Dothan this summer, there is hope that adult softball leagues will resume at some point late summer and even some scheduled youth tournaments — such as the Dixie Boys state tournament scheduled for late July — may still take place.
A release sent out by DLS reads: Under the current guidelines from the Governor’s office and the CDC, we cannot successfully play softball and baseball this season. Six feet social distancing and the requirement of a limitation of groups of 10 brings many challenges. However, sharing of common equipment and surfaces cannot be avoided, including bats, batting helmets, catcher’s gear, dugout benches, dugout fencing and, most importantly, baseballs and softballs. A cleaning schedule for all of these is not possible.
All tournaments at all facilities are canceled through July 15, 2020. As new information becomes available, decisions will be made regarding tournaments already scheduled beyond July 15, 2020.
When asked if there was a chance some youth leagues could still be held this summer, Hall said it was doubtful.
“Typically by then, the kids would be into their fall programs, so I would doubt it,” Hall said of a possibility of any youth leagues starting in mid-July. “But then again, everything keeps changing, so we’re just not sure what’s going to happen.”
Hall said if Dixie Boys officials on the state level decide to hold state tournaments, DLS would be willing to work with them to host a scheduled event.
“It’s usually mid-July anyway if that were to occur, so that’s something if it was going to be here, we would work with them to make it happen if we are able to,” Hall said.
Dixie Boys Baseball commissioner Sandy Jones said officials will be meeting this week to consider plans for scheduled tournaments.
While the baseball and softball leagues have been put on hold, DLS did announce that many of the facilities will be re-opening for public use next Tuesday (May 26).
Archery Range at Eastgate Park: The Archery Range at Eastgate Park will open to organized practice and casual use with the following guidelines from the Governor’s office and the CDC: participants should maintain social distancing of 6 feet and not share equipment.
BMX Track: The BMX track will be open to organized practice with the following guidelines from the Governor’s office and the CDC: participants should maintain social distancing of 6 feet and not share equipment.
Various Fields: The following fields will be open to the public for casual use: All soccer fields at Westgate Park. Beauchamp & Gilbert softball fields at Westgate Park. All baseball and softball fields at Doug Tew Park. All baseball fields at Walton Park. All softball fields at Wiregrass Park.
Westgate Competition Pool: The Westgate Competition Pool will partially re-open for limited lap swim and swim team hours.
Westgate Recreation Center Fitness/Weight Room: The Fitness/Weight Room will re-open for limited hours.
Pickleball and Tennis Courts: The following pickleball and tennis courts will open for play: Andrew Belle, Eastgate Park, Kinney Park, Rip Hewes, Walton Park, and Wiregrass Park. Courts will open for casual play only. Players must observe social distancing as recommended by the CDC.
Westgate Tennis Center: The Westgate Tennis Center will open to the public Monday—Friday: 8 a.m.— 8 p.m.; Saturday: 8 a.m.— 4 p.m.; Sunday: Noon—6 p.m.