McIntire Little League returns to the field

While they still aren’t able to play official games, the shift to Phase Two has allowed members of the McIntire Little League to get on the diamond for practice.

McIntire Little League returns to the field

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The sports world is starting to wake from its forced hibernation.

NASCAR is on the track.

The NBA has a plan to finish out the season.

And Major League Baseball is working on one to get started.

At McIntire Park in Charlottesville, there was also return to normalcy this weekend.

McIntire Little League President Duke Fox says, “They’re super happy to be out here, and frankly, I think the parents are as happy to have the kids out as the kids themselves are.”

When the governor moved Virginia into Phase Two on Friday, McIntire Little League sprung into action, and for the first time since the pandemic started, the kids were back on the diamond.

“We’re pretty much allowed to practice, and run clinics," says Fox, "but we have to keep within the social distancing standpoint of 10 feet, which is in Governor (Ralph) Northam’s Phase Two. We don’t do any live scrimmaging. We don’t have catchers near the hitters. We basically try to get the kids to spread out as much as we can, and work on drills.”

McIntire Little League President Duke Fox says the players quickly adjusted to new rules like, ‘No High Fives.’

“It’s not too bad with the older kids," says Fox. "I don’t think I’d be doing it with the 8, 9, 10-year-olds, but the 11 and 12-year-old’s are pretty good about it.”

That is the age group that plays in the Little League World Series, but the international tournament was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

Fox says, "It’s a real heartbreak for these kids to miss their spring season. Your 12-year-old year of Little League is kind of the pinnacle of your youth baseball career, and unfortunately these kids missed it because of the virus. "

They may still have a chance to play locally. Fox says if Virginia moves to Phase Three, McIntire, Central, and Monticello Little Leagues could start up in the fall.

“There won’t be anything official until August," says Fox. "If we’re able to organize it, we’ll have some clinics and some practices in the summer for the kids interested, but there will be no games, at a minimum, until close to when school goes back.”

Fox says it’s unlikely the City Championship will be played this year.

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