PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Governor Doug Ducey announced this week youth sports could resume once again in Arizona amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Arizona's Family spoke to the South Mountain Little League about the decision. Like so many others, the spring season ended before opening day.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Thursday afternoon that Arizona schools will be allowed to resume for the 2020-2021 school year.
“It’s just been very low,” said president Cristobal Leon. “But at the end of the day, we’re good.”
Leon's going on 24 years as a coach and was throwing balls Thursday night with some players. Hours after Governor Ducey's announcement, Leon says they are aiming to begin the fall season in late August or early September. It's too late for the summer season, and there are certain rules from Little League International that they have to follow, he said.
“Kids have to have two weeks for practice and start the season,” Leon said. “Each kid has to have his own helmet; each kid has to have his own bat.”
When they do come back, Leon says coaches will have to worry about social distancing and hand sanitizer in the dugout. Governor Ducey issued some guidance along with the Arizona Department of Health Services. It calls for keeping parents six feet apart and limiting where large groups can gather. Read the full guidance here.
In a news conference Thursday, the Director of the Department, Dr. Cara Christ, says there will be recommendations regarding spectators. “Physically distancing before and after the game, not sharing drinks, snacks after the sports,” Dr. Christ said. “If there is shared equipment making sure that you’re disinfecting if before and after.”
Meanwhile, the Arizona State Little League Chairman Carl Thompson says it’s good to get some clarity about re-opening, and at the end of the day, it’s up to each individual league.
“Looking at where we’re at in the state of Arizona right now, of the 140 leagues I believe... there’s between 15 and 20 that are looking at doing some sort of summer ball,” Thompson said. When teams start playing again also depends on where you live. Some rural cities have started, he said, but some don’t have access to city parks yet.
The South Mountain Little League owns and manages the field in Phoenix, and despite the setbacks, Leon says he’s excited the 12-year-old's will get one last little league season before moving on.
Thompson says they want to make sure it’s safe for everyone in the community before they resume play. It's important for leagues to comply with the CDC and state guidelines. Little League International also put out some best practices guidelines that he says will be distributed to leagues across the state.