Local youth sports to begin again

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NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS 10)— Governor Cuomo announced today that youth sports such as baseball, crew, gymnastic, field hockey, and cross country can begin on July 6th, but only 2 spectators are allowed per player.

The Niskyauna Warriors youth baseball team had their first practice tonight—something the players have been anxiously awaiting for since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“I’m pretty pumped because I haven’t had much to do, and playing baseball just excites me so now I can play,” said Matthew Hand, who plays short stop.

The coaches are excited too.

“We didn’t think we were having anything. In our town and our league, we had to cancel our Rec season just a couple of weeks ago. Because with 400 kids on 6 fields it didn’t line up with what Babe Ruth required, and a lot of our families at the rec level actually chose not to play. But the travel kids, we got about 95-100 playing on 8 teams,” explained Dave Fields, President of Niskayuna Baseball.

This season will be a little different than years past, due to social distancing protocols that are now in place.

“You have to stay distanced so you can’t talk with your friends as much, and when you’re making plays you have to make sure to stay distanced,” said Hand.

At tonight’s practice, the team was divided into 2 groups that played at different times. Only 6 players were on the field at once.

“Our dugouts are closed,” explained Fields. “We have spots for their equipment that are 6ft. Apart out here. We have hand sanitizer on site. They also have to bring it. We are sanitizing baseballs between sessions and we are keeping logs of that. So we are really dotting our “i’s” and crossing our “t’s” and making sure any paper we signed, we are upholding and did what we said we were going to do.”

Fields said with baseball, social distancing is possible.

“There will be adjustments and we are going to figure those out along the way. It might not look exactly the same, but it certainly can be done safely. We are in a group of coaches and leagues that have been awesome to work together and plan with and so far I’m really confident it’s gonna work.”

Even with safety modifications, the kids are just happy to just play ball.

“I mean we have to keep our distance but still it’s a good thing that we can play because this is our last year on this small field,” said Cam Grasso, who plays for the Niskayuna Warriors.

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