WAKEFIELD – A northeast Nebraska community proclaimed as the official baseball capital of Nebraska has been gearing up for the start of their summer sports season since early June. A pair of teams will get their chance in the coming days.
On May 20, the Wakefield Youth Rec Committee posted they would proceed with a modified season for 14 & Under as well as 12 & Under summer teams. This decision was based on the likelihood of these age groups being able to adhere to the COVID-19 rules outlined by the State of Nebraska. Organized games will not take place this summer for 10 & U or 9 & U teams in Wakefield as fees will be returned for the younger age groups who are not able to participate in organized games.
Scott Hansen is a current Wakefield City Councilmember along with being on the Wakefield Youth Rec Committee and the coach for the Pony team. Hansen said the committee worked with city officials along with getting each player to sign waiver and Youth Rec had to sign a licensing agreement with the City of Wakefield.
“Take all the responsibility away from the city,” said Hansen. “We had to look into get extra insurance for the Youth Rec group. Then when that all came together, we decided that we could play.”
The Tri-County League held a conference call and each town stated their plans.
“When it came down to the end, there was about eight teams that had decided that they were going to play and move forward with playing baseball for this summer,” Hansen added. “Of those eight teams, a schedule was developed. So, we’ll play each team for sure once and some twice.”
The teams will then come together for their own mini-playoff not associated with the Tri-County league.
The Wakefield Bronco (12U) and Pony (14U) baseball teams will join several other northeast Nebraska communities who were in the Tri-County League.
The Wakefield Broncos will open on Thursday, June 18 at West Point Twins while the Wakefield Ponies will begin their season on Sunday, June 21 hosting Dodge-Howells at 7 p.m.
With the updated Directed Health Measures for youth sports not going into place until Monday, June 22, Hansen commented on how Sunday’s home game at Graves Park just past Eaton Field will look as the group will follow the current guidelines.
“Only people in the household of the player are allowed to go to the game,” Hansen mentioned. “We don’t have any bleachers set out. What we did, is we marked spots behind home plate so that way players and people knew the social distancing area. Just figured it’d be easier to keep sanitized without the bleachers.”
Six-foot markings along the fence are also in place for each player to put their equipment. Bathrooms are currently closed, but will be open when the games are being played.
Practice began on June 2 for Wakefield youth baseball and Hansen said he knew parents were glad to have their kids back out.
“It’s been fun though,” said Hansen. “They’ve needed to get out and do something and get to a schedule of staying busy. A lot of them are in weightlifting too and they’ve been able to get back with that. So, they’re kind of getting back into a regular routine of things that they do normally during the summer.”
More information will be provided about the Wakefield Post 81 Legion teams soon. To view the complete Wayne Post 43 Legion along with Dirt Devil 10s, 12s, 14s and 16/18s schedules go to waynedailynews.com and select the red ‘Sports Scores’ button on the home page.
Also, like Wakefield Youth Rec on Facebook for more information.