By Ray Hamill — Two months after the last live pitch was thrown on the North Coast, baseball is set to make a return in the coming days.
On Tuesday night, the Humboldt Eagles board voted to begin practice next week, albeit with “very restricted conditions,” according to 19U head coach Matt Tomlin.
“We’re going to be really careful and do it right,” Tomlin said. “And that’s the biggest thing the board stressed.”
Restrictions will include having less than 10 players on a field at the same time, and all of them working out in separate stations to maintain social distancing.
“We’ll have to be creative as coaches,” Tomlin said.
The Eagles will field three teams this summer, at 19U, 17U and 16U, and tryouts for all three teams will begin on Monday.
A schedule of tryout times will be released in the coming days.
Tomlin says he is in favor of the board’s decision.
“In my opinion we should be getting the kids back on the field practicing,” he said.
The two other Legion programs in the county — the Northern Humboldt Giants and Southern Humboldt 76ers — are both also expected to field teams this summer, although neither has any immediate plans to practice.
“Safety is No. 1,” said Giants coach Troy Ghisetti. “And once we can get out there and hit the field, we will. I think all the kids want to get back on the field and play some baseball.”
Ghisetti said the Giants will revaluate the situation in early June.
“When it’s safe and when it’s the right time to get back out there we will,” he said.
Tomlin added that the Eagles already have had an out-of-the-area team enquiring about possible games.