Sports

PLAY BALL! Summer sports a go

Union file photo

Winfield-Mt. Union’s Jami Wilkerson sets to slap the ball during a Wolves’ home softball game last season.
Union file photo Winfield-Mt. Union’s Jami Wilkerson sets to slap the ball during a Wolves’ home softball game last season.

After a long wait, much uncertainty and day-by-day speculation, the 2020 summer sports season is on in the state of Iowa.

On Wednesday morning, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa school activities can reopen on June 1, which means the 2020 high school baseball and softball seasons are good to go. On Wednesday afternoon, the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union made it official.

Practices for baseball and softball will begin on June 1, with games opening up June 15. The original first practice dates were May 4 for softball and May 18 for baseball.

The Iowa Department of Education released a guidance ahead of this summer sports season, which among other things bans dugouts and sunflower seeds, while encouraging coaches and players to take social distancing measures such as using hand sanitizer and avoiding the of equipment.

“The IHSAA thanks Dr. Lebo, Governor Reynolds, Dr. Pedati, the Iowa Department of Public Health and all who have worked diligently to develop these guidelines to help us conduct a baseball seaseon for the young people in Iowa,” said IHSAA executive director Tom Keating in a press release. “We trust that our administrators, coaches, umpires and fans will responsibly follow the guidelines in place to keep themselves and each other safe. This is terrific news and is a step toward getting our student-athletes reconnected to the activities that mean so much to them.”

The summer sports schedule will be the first high school sports in Iowa since early indoor track meets. The outdoor spring season never got off the starting blocks and were ultimately canceled on April 17.

The IHSAA and IGHSAU have said they still plan on using the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Ft. Dodge for the state softball tournament, and Principal Park in Des Moines for the state baseball tournament. The postseason schedule has not been finalized.

The Union will have more information on the upcoming baseball and softball seasons when more information becomes available.