The local summer baseball season appears to be on life support at this time. The Lebanon County American Legion season had already been halted due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the local little league and pony leagues are waiting for the state’s decision on their games, according to the Lebanon County Pony Baseball League Commissioner Steve Beard.
“The Little League World Series was canceled on April 30 and they have told their leagues they are not to start before May 11,” said Beard. “Our local Little League is not affiliated with them, so we can do our own thing so what we have decided to do is just hold off until the governor makes an announcement in the next day or so. We’re hopeful to see signs they will eventually open it up.
“We now believe the earliest we could start would be June 1 with a drop- dead date of July 1,” continued Beard. “If we can’t get games started by that date, we would scrap what would be our spring season for what would be our summer season, and then try to do something in the fall.”
Another issue that needs to be addressed, according to Beard, is field availabilities, because most of the teams don’t own fields, and therefore need to use township, municipality or school district diamonds.
“If we can play in July it would be a shortened, modified season at the midget level, of maybe 12 to 14 games instead of 18 to 20 and at the 10-U level it would be eight games instead of 12,” Beard said. “The overall goal is to play baseball if the kids, and their parents, want to do it. There would be some modified changes, because it would be good for the community by providing some normality. Our goal is to be optimistic but also be realistic in what we have to do.
“Both Bryan Vachon, President of the Lebanon Valley Midget Baseball League, and I are holding out hope that we can do that for the community because it has always been about the kids,” Beard added.
One last comment Beard made was: “If we get canceled, we are doing something in the fall that will involve baseball for six- to 12-year olds, because the kids want to play and we’ll do whatever we have to do to make it work.”
The end result is the LVMBL and LCPBL are in a hold position until hearing from Pennsylvania state officials.