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LOGAN — So far, 2020 has been the year without baseball.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, sports hit a standstill as all leagues were shut down.

The entire high school spring sports seasons of baseball, softball, tennis and track were called off before they even started.

And to date, Major League Baseball has yet to take to the field for the 2020 season as a deal for a possible 60-game season to begin in July is being hashed out.

But as the coronavirus crisis continues to fade, the nation is bouncing back in a big way both economically and in normal every day life.

It’s time to get back to normal and it’s time to play ball.

Those sentiments were heard a lot around the ball yard on Monday at Logan’s Paul Hale Field as the Logan Little League held its Opening Night.

Logan, the only Little League in District 2 which will be fielding any kind of regular season, has 50 games scheduled in its abbreviated regular season which will run until July 24.

A total of nine teams will take to the field.

There will be no Coach Pitch, no T-ball or no all-star tournaments as games will be confined to two age divisions: the Major Division (10-12) and the Minor Division (7-9).

League officials are still being mindful of the virus and special rules have been put into place to adhere to state heath guidelines.

Those were on display on Monday as two games were played. The Cubs toppled the Reds, 7-5, while the Dodgers doubled up on the Astros, 10-5, in a pair of Major Division contests.

One big rule change is that the home plate umpire will instead be behind the pitcher six feet from the mound.

The umpires can’t touch the balls or bats and each pitcher is told to take the ball back into the dugouts in the inning change overs and use it for the next inning.

The dugout areas at Paul Hale Field have also been modified.

Instead of having players huddle in a small bench area in the dugout, chairs have been placed six feet apart going down the first and third base lines with extended fencing.

Players are also not allowed to high-five, huddle together or slap hands with the other team after games, instead tipping their hats to each other from a distance is the new norm.

During the National Anthem and Little League Pledge before the game, players lined up on each foul line as usual but those lines were extended and players were spaced out.

Even with the new rules, it’s still baseball.

And it was a big deal that any baseball at all was played.

“I’m really happy that we are getting to have some kind of season,” Logan Little League President Les Goldie said. “I love watching these kids play. We want to get them back out here and start socializing with each other. We’d like to get back to normalcy and getting them to back to doing something.”

District 2 Administrator Mike Vickers was also on hand on Monday to take in the games, watching the action from the press box.

“Absolutely happy to see this,” Vickers said. “It tickles me to death. I’m glad to see that the kids are getting to play.”

Goldie said he was afraid to see baseball suffer in the Logan area if the 2020 season was a complete wash.

“We were afraid of that and that was one of our deciding factors when we sat down and talked,” he said. “We do work really hard with the youth and we try to feed good players into the middle school and into the high school. We were afraid that if we took a year off that it would significantly hurt our talent.”

The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

More than 200 area youth have signed up to play baseball.

Since the Logan Little League is the only league around, 25 kids from surrounding areas Chapmanville, Madison and Tug Valley have also signed up to play in Logan.

The Logan Little League has certainly welcomed those players with open arms.

“We lost a few players that did not decided to play because of COVID,” Goldie said. “But we picked up 25 players from other areas. It’s a short season but we want to play as long as we can. We were afraid of losing some kids because some of the kids play all sports. After August 1 we would have lost a bunch due to football, so that’s why will will call it quits on July 24. We will at least try to get some kind of season in.”

Vickers said a few other leagues had flirted with having a season but decided not to. That left Logan as the only one standing.

“All of the leagues that decided not to play decided that they could not do the COVID-19 thing,” Vickers said. “We were down to three leagues that could possibly play in Man, Pineville and Logan. Man and Pineville said they could not do the COVID-19 guidelines which was implemented by the State Health Department.”

Games will be played every Monday through Saturday weather permitting. There will also be a short break around the Fourth of July.

“We will have two games Monday through Friday. There will be one game on Saturdays and no games on Sunday,” Goldie said.

Other than golf, baseball is a sport which is conducive to social distancing.

“The only time really when players would get close to each other is when you have base runners and they are running bases and they are trying to get them out,” Vickers said.

In normal years, mid to late June and into July would be the time for the annual Little League All-Star Tournaments.

On the national level, the US Regional tournaments and the Little League World Series have also been canceled.

There is still a slim chance to have a state tournament in the 10-12-year-old division, however.

“The regional tournaments and the Little League World Series have already been canceled,” Goldie said. “The Coach Pitch tournament has already been canceled and the 9-10 has been canceled. The only hope right now that we have, and it doesn’t look good, is to have an 11-12 district and maybe the state tournament. We are not having districts so if they have a state tournament we would automatically advance.”

It would be District 4 in the Beckley area which would host a state tourney this year. Last season, South Charleston played host to the state tourney.

“We have seven district administrators and we would set the guidelines on where to play,” Vickers said. “We are not going to have a softball tournament this year because the only league that had a place to host could not host it because they could not get the facility that they thought that they were going to get. So there will be no softball state tournament of any kind at the state level. For baseball, it would be in District 4 if we have it. That’s the Beckley area. We have not made a commitment to that if we are going to play.”

2020 Logan Little League Schedule

At Paul Hale Field,

Logan, W.Va.:

Monday, June 22

Major League

Cubs 7, Reds 5

Dodgers 10, Astros 5

Tuesday, June 23

Minor League

Reds vs. Dodgers, late.

Cubs vs. Yankees, late.

Wednesday, June 24

Major League

Dodgers vs. Cubs, 5:30 p.m.

Astros vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 25

Minor League

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 5:30 p.m.

Reds vs. Cubs, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 26

Major League

Cubs vs. Mariners, 5:30 p.m.

Astros vs. Reds, 8 p.m.

Monday, June 29

Major League

Dodgers vs. Reds, 5:30 p.m.

Reds vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, June 30

Minor League

Cubs vs. Dodgers, 6 p.m.

Dodgers vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, July 1

Major League

Astros vs. Cubs, 5:30 p.m.

Astros vs. Dodgers, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 2

Minor League

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 6 p.m.

Major League

Cubs vs. Reds, 8 p.m.

Monday, July 6

Major League

Astros vs. Mariners, 5:30 p.m.

Dodgers vs. Reds, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 7

Minor League

Reds vs. Yankees, 5:30 p.m.

Cubs vs. Dodgers, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, July 8

Major League

Dodgers vs. Cubs, 5:30 p.m.

Cubs vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 9

Minor League

Cubs vs. Yankees, 5:30

Reds vs. Dodgers, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 10

Major League

Astros vs. Reds, 5:30 p.m.

Reds vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 11

Minor League

Reds vs. Cubs, 11 a.m.

Monday, July 13

Major League

Dodgers vs. Mariners, 5:30 p.m.

Astros vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 14

Minor League

Cubs vs. Dodgers, 5:30 p.m.

Reds vs. Yankees, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, July 15

Major League

Astros vs. Cubs, 5:30 p.m.

Mariners vs. Cubs, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 16

Minor League

Reds vs. Cubs, 5:30 p.m.

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 17

Major League

Cubs vs. Reds, 5:30 p.m.

Astros vs. Reds, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 18

Minor League

Reds vs. Yankees, 11 a.m.

Monday, July 20

Major League

Reds vs. Mariners, 5:30 p.m.

Dodgers vs. Cubs, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 21

Minor League

Reds vs. Yankees, 5:30 p.m.

Cubs vs. Dodgers, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, July 22

Major League

Dodgers vs. Astros, 5:30 p.m.

Dodgers vs. Reds, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 23

Minor League

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 5:30 p.m.

Reds vs. Cubs, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 24

Major League

Astros vs. Mariners, 5:30 p.m.

Cubs vs. Mariners, 8 p.m.

Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at padkins@hdmediallc.com