Cooper County Baseball Association President Michael Watts can only hope that baseball we be played this summer in the 8-and-under, 9-10 and 11-12-year-old age groups in Boonville.
But like everyone else, Watts said the league is in a holding pattern due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“First and foremost, we want to be able to provide a safe environment for all of our participants and will continue to monitor all options,” Watts said. “When we postponed everything we had just begun winding down our signups and were preparing to have our tryouts and move right into the team draft with plans to begin practicing April 1.
“Now it looks like nothing is set until we get an all clear, but I would like to think once we can start practicing we could begin regular games in 2-3 weeks from that point. I would love to be able to begin by June 1, but it all depends.”
Watts said all options are on the table at this point. While the league was awarded the right to host the Cal Ripken Midwest Plains 10-year-old Tournament this summer, Watts said the tournament could still be played at its scheduled time on July 23-28. In addition, he said Boonville has also been awarded the Missouri State 11-year-old tournament as well on July 9-12.
Something else new this year, Watts said after many attempts over the years to add out of town teams, the league was able to work out a mutually agreeable plan to add all of the interested youth of Pilot Grove community to the league. He said they will become an official Boonville Cal Ripken team.
Watts said the plans are for Pilot Grove to bring in one 8-and-under team, two 10-and-under teams and one 12-and-under teams into the league. He added that schedules will be set up so all of the teams will play home and away games, which provides the Pilot Grove teams the opportunity to keep their local allegiance and play games at their home field.
A league sponsored travel team was also approved to provide a more structured and local affiliate within the league. Watts said they had hoped to provide this for all of the age groups, but it was determined that it may have been too much to take on the first year so it was decided to begin with just the 10-year-olds on a trial basis. There is hope that this program could be made available to all age groups in the future, he said.
Watts also mentioned that two new mounds have been purchased and are ready for use. He said one of the new ones is bigger and more compatible for all of the age groups. The old one will be repaired and used at other locations as required.
“This will be very advantageous for our league as we will have access to multiple fields this year, but we hope that we don’t have to play as many weekends this summer.”
Watts said anyone that has already signed up but cannot or does not wish to play this year will be refunded.
He said teams will be given an adequate amount of time to practice and get an idea of what positions their players are best suited for before they attempt to have the jamborees before beginning the regular season.
“Depending on when we get started, there are several options available to us to complete the season, including a split season, a fall season, a continuous season that overlaps anticipated all-star tournaments along with other possibilities,” Watts said.
At the current time, Watts said he is hopeful for eight teams in the Major Division, six teams in the Minor Division and four in the Midget Division. He said all these include Pilot Grove teams.
Also, Watts said the league just opened up a Go Fund Me account to assist in generating monies to help those in need within the community. He said the organization of choice is the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry in Boonville. He said it can be found on their Facebook page at http://www.coopercountybaseballassociation.com/ or at the GoFundMe page: https://charity.fofundme.com/o/en/campaign/cocoba1.
“They are in great need of assistance so anything we can do is greatly appreciated,” Watts said. “Let’s all remember that from time to time we all are in need of assistance and that some of the folks in need may be part of our baseball family now.”