After a two year absence, South Salt Lake recreation restarts youth baseballMay 12, 2021 11:59AM ● By Brian Shaw
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
In last talking to Dustin Permann, recreation coordinator at the City of South Salt Lake, the hope was that his program would be able to play ball again in the spring after a two-year absence due to Covid-19.
“We still get a few calls from parents every day, looking for information; they’re bummed because their kids are bored and frustrated being stuck inside their homes playing video games,” said Permann back in November. “But I feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as we get back outside, it’s game on.”
Permann’s hope for a return to normalcy after a hard winter of inactivity turned to a realization as the city started its youth baseball program back up in early April, leading off with a three-game homestand featuring the SSL Bees Majors, the oldest of the three age groups, on April 5.
The SSL Bees Majors team is made up of area kids ages 11 and 12. They played their first game in two years against a team from the Avenues Community Center, and were excited to lead off the 2021 season at the Central Park ball field.
The next day saw the 9-and-10-year-old SSL Bees Minors program step to the plate at Central Park against an Avenues Community Center team, kicking their cleats and shoes in the dirt, sending baseballs into the outfield.
On April 7, the SSL Bees Rookies ran onto the field at Central Park, their friendly foe an Avenues team as the area’s seven and eight year olds proudly displayed their new jerseys for the first time.
For all three South Salt Lake teams though, it was just good to be able to get outside again and play ball. “Play It Safe” standards were implemented at the season openers for all three South Salt Lake teams and these will continue through the season.
In a statement, the league released guidelines for play during this 2021 season “to promote general health safety objectives and limit the potential for any viral transmission through league play. All participants must strictly comply,” it stated.
“No amount of social distancing guidelines will completely eliminate the risk of virus transmission. It is recommended that players considered high risk not participate in this Spring season,” the statement cautioned. “All players and coaches participate at their own risk. If you choose to participate, you will be expected to strictly adhere to these rules.”
These rules include requiring each player use their own water bottle, wear a face covering during play and while in the dugout and use their own equipment, such as bats, gloves and catchers masks.
In this league, the three teams from South Salt Lake will each play an 8-game schedule against teams from the Avenues Community Center and Central City Community Center. Half of the games are at home, while the other half will be played away.
This first 8-game season will wrap up in late April with a Picture Day on April 30. After that, a shorter 6-game season is scheduled to run from May to June and that schedule will be released on May 1, added Permann.