The sound of bats cracking against baseballs won’t be heard on Nelson’s little league fields until 2021.
The Nelson Baseball Association has suspended its season until next year due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Typically, the little league season starts April and runs through the end of June.
Dwane Sorenson, the association’s president, said the league set a soft deadline to make a decision on May 15. When that day came and went, he said, it was clear the season would have to be delayed.
“We just got to the point where we’re out of time and now looking back to two weeks ago when we made the decision we made the right one because we still wouldn’t be playing baseball today.”
Sorenson didn’t rule out the possibility of playing in the fall, but cautioned it was unlikely due to player conflicts with the hockey season.
“What is their fall season going to look like? When are they going to start and what does it look like?”
That’s the big question for most sports organization in Nelson right now.
Spokespeople for both Nelson Soccer Association and Glacier Gymnastics each told the Star they are waiting on return-to-play plans from their sports’ provincial bodies.
Lauren Penfound, who last week was elected president of Nelson Mixed Slo-pitch, said her league can’t begin play at the Lakeside Park diamonds without approval from the city and Regional District of Central Kootenay.
Clubs that use the Nelson and District Community Complex, such as the Nelson Reflections and Nelson Neptunes, are also forced to wait for a green light from the RDCK.
Meanwhile, at least three sports have returned to play, albeit under health restrictions.
Granite Pointe Golf Club reopened last month at first to members only and has since opened to drop-in play as well. The Nelson Boxing Club resumed classes Monday, but with no contact or sparring.
The Nelson Tennis Club is also back in action, although only for members who have to book courts online in advance and with no plans for tournaments this season.
Gyms such as Power By You and Maverick Fitness have also resumed classes with restrictions tied to Interior Health guidelines.
The city has also reopened its tennis and pickleball courts at Lakeside Park, as well as the skate park at Art Gibbon Park in Rosemont.
For little leaguers, the delay also means not being able to take advantage of the new fence at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Nelson Baseball Association began a three-year project to revitalize the aging ballpark in October, beginning with the installation of a proper outfield fence.
The fence has been installed, but no balls will fly over it until at least next spring.
“I think [the kids] would have played on a dirt field in the parking lot if we could have,” said Sorenson.
“It’s super disappointing. We were the first to make the decision of the West Kootenay associations and it was certainly not a place we wanted to be a leader in.”
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