ROBBINSVILLE, NJ -- After a months-long delay to their spring season, Robbinsville Little League (RLL) teams will finally head back to the ball field next week for practice. The coaches, players and umpires, however, will be playing with some new rules in place -- to keep them all healthy and safe while enjoying baseball.
The modified Little League season will take place between June 22 and September 19. Games are anticipated to start on July 6.
In recent weeks, RLL has put together an extensive 12-page COVID-19 mitigation plan to keep players, coaches, officials and volunteers safe while enjoying themselves back on the ball field.
“Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down youth sports in NJ, the RLL Board of Trustees has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a plan to get our kids back on the ball fields with safety at the forefront," said Mike Todd of Robbinsville Little League. "We’ve been in contact with Little League NJ, our local Little League District 12 Administrators and Robbinsville Township to ensure all health and safety requirements are met in conjunction with the NJ Department of Health Guidance."
For example, temperature checks will be conducted before all practices and games.
"Robbinsville Little League has a long tradition of excellence on and off the field," said Todd. While it has been time-consuming, we wanted to be out in front of this situation to ensure RLL families feel safe and comfortable back on Tantum fields again."
All managers/coaches, volunteers, and umpires, etc., should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face coverings whenever possible. Players should wear cloth face coverings during downtime and when they are not on the field of play or in areas of close contact. They can wear a cloth face covering on the field if physically able to and directed by a medical provider or parent/guardian. Players should not wear protective medical gloves on the field during game play.
The guidelines also require game officials, coaches and players to bring their own beverages and food.
Instead of the traditional post-game handshake and celebration, Little League International suggests "lining up outside the dugout and tipping caps to the opposing team as a sign of good sportsmanship after a game."
Players will not be able to hang out in RLL dugouts while the COVID-19 mitigation plan is in effect. Player families will be assigned spots behind each of the fence lines at least 20 feet apart. Players will remain with their families while waiting for their turn to bat, and then will be called to their assigned spots.
Guidelines also will be in place regarding rotation of game balls, maintenance of equipment, social distancing of spectators, and other health precautions.
The RLL will not be fielding Soft-T, T-ball and Rookie baseball divisions this year because of anticipated low participation.
As part of the New Jersey Division 12, Robbinsville anticipates having one baseball and one softball team in the Division this year that will have the opportunity to advance to sectionals and then State championships.
"We look forward to picking up where we left off in early spring and cheering on our players as they dominate the baseball and softball fields once again!” added Todd.
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