Youth Baseball Returns to Missouri Amid Pandemic

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A youth baseball tournament in Missouri took place over the weekend, as organizers attempted to implement safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Fewer than half the scheduled teams participated in the Mother’s Day Classic, held at Strehl Fields in Cottleville, where kids were expected play ball while maintaining 6 feet of separation.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the tournament had concessions opened to spectators, as well as extra sanitation measures, and players and coaches were required to stand 6 feet apart, allowing only three social-distanced kids in a dugout at once. High-fives and stealing bases were prohibited.

The Dispatch reported that those guidelines were not strictly adhered to, as four or more boys were frequently grouped in the dugout, and coaches and players gathered together to conference. 

“I think we did our best, for having 12-year-old boys who don’t always listen,” Kathy Tierney, who was watching her son, Aiden, play, told the Dispatch.

Coach Dustin Griffith of the Illinois Black Sox, from the central Illinois area, was ecstatic when he heard the tournament would be played as scheduled.

“I didn’t think we would be playing this early. I think it’s awesome that we got to play,” Griffith said, noting that his players have been working out at home to stay in shape and keep their arms healthy.

Some spectators in attendance brought their own pods — clear plastic, zippered camping tents that create a barrier between fans.

The Mother’s Day Classic was held even as Missouri and the rest of the country struggle to contain COVID-19. According to Time, Missouri reported its largest-ever daily increase in COVID-19 cases last week, while more than 400 people in the St. Louis area have died of the virus. While new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the area are trending downward, some 600 people are still arriving in hospitals for treatment every day.

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