Slow pitch plans summer season

Any thoughts that interest in a Fort St. John Mixed Slow Pitch season would be down were proven wrong on Tuesday night, as 51 members, along with the six-person executive, held a productive and agreeable meeting regarding the details of the 2020 season, and the COVID-19 protocols that would be in place.

There were thoughts among some in attendance that there would be arguments over the new rules, but by and large everyone was on the same page, willing to do whatever it takes to play ball as soon as possible. 

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The membership voted on three things at the meeting.

Players voted unanimously to extend the season through to the middle of the August, in hopes to get sevens weeks of playing in and roughly 14 games. Details about the schedule, having competitive and recreational divisions, and how many teams will play has yet to be decided, Registrtation night is planned for next week, with a July 6 start date in mind. 

"We will try our best to keep things normal, but if we only have 15 teams we won't be able to split things up into divisions. I'm asking for a little bit of confidence from you in us as the executive, that we will do the best we can to get playing some ball," said Slow Pitch Society President Dave Sawyer.

The season usually ends in the middle of July, as many players go on vacation and teams have touble fielding a full line-up. In light of the circumstances, and to help deal with this issue through July and August, the society also voted unanimously to loosen the rules regarding spare players. If a team is short players for a game, any player, so long as they have signed a waiver and are registered on a team, will be able to fill in.

The executive placed emphasis on this being a fun season, with less of a focus on competition, prize money, and substitution rules.

Sawyer passed out a sheet of Slo-Pitch National COVID-19 rule suggestions. Teams will be asked to only show up to a diamond 15 minutes before a game and there will be no warmups allowed.

Teams are advised to use their own balls when fielding, and to observe physical distancing in and around the dugouts while batting. For a full list of SPN return-to-play guidelines and recommendations, go here.

Members also voted to have a year-end tournament at the end of August. Teams will have to pay an additional fee to play in the tournament, but there are no more details as to when and how the tournament will take place at this time. 

The meeting went swiftly and smoothly, showing there is certainly an appetite for sports, regardless of how different or unusual it may turn out to be.

"We'll get this thing rolling so we can start by July 6 the best we can. Let's play some ball," Sawyer concluded.

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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