There’s no joy in Mudville

Ely Little League struck out for 2020

by Tom Coombe
Summer nights in Ely will have one very noticeable void this year.
Little League Baseball, which dates back to the 1950s in Ely, will go dark this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although Ely Little League officials may yet form a travel team to play later in the summer, the traditional four-team in-house league as well as two programs for younger players will be scrapped for 2020.
“The board felt, after discussing the current youth sports guidelines, that any sort of season would be incredibly difficult to implement at the Little League level and the player ages,” said Derek Johnson, president of Ely’s Little League organization. “We also wanted to keep player safety in mind, and this was also a factor in the decision.”
In addition to four “majors” teams for those ages 9-12, the Little League in Ely also has five “coach pitch” teams and sponsors a twice-weekly T-ball program.
Overall, Ely had about 130 participants in the various levels in 2019, ranging from age 5-12.
Youth baseball teams across the state were given the green light to practice, effective June 1, and Ely will field three teams for players age 13 and above this summer.
Some of Ely’s Little Leaguers may still get the opportunity to don a uniform and play ball later this summer, should restrictions on games ease and the organization form a travel team to compete against teams from other communities.
“We will watch how the play guidelines progress over the next couple weeks/month and make a decision regarding this possibility a bit later,” said Johnson.
The league is encouraging participants to play on their own and hone their skills while not taking part on an organized team.
“We will miss seeing all the young kids playing and learning the game, but Ely Little League will be back in full force in the summer of 2021,” said Johnson.