A possible break from the local COVID-19 sports winter has appeared on the very near horizon.
Varsity summer baseball is scheduled to begin next week in Jamestown, according to Jamestown Area Youth Baseball Association Director Brad Nold. The Class A Senior Babe Ruth Jamestown Eagles are planning to host Dickinson on Friday, May 29, in a Jack Brown Stadium doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
Nold has been able to construct a full schedule of games to replace what would’ve been the 2020 Jamestown American Legion Post 14 baseball season. North Dakota Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken commissioners have incorporated the state’s Class AA and Class A American Legion teams into their youth baseball programs, following the April decision by the North Dakota American Legion to cancel baseball activity in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, the American Legion shut down all sponsorship and national involvement in baseball for the 2020 season.
Nold also serves as the secretary/treasurer for North Dakota Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken, which has upped its total youth baseball divisions to 11 this summer with the varsity additions. The organization’s president is Jeremy Ludlum of Williston.
“North Dakota Babe Ruth has stepped up immensely,” Nold said. “The overriding topic of every meeting is, ‘As long as the Governor says we can, let’s find a way to get our kids playing baseball this summer.’”
Nold explained Jamestown’s full schedule is still a “moving target” but the conference dates are basically set. The schedule currently includes 11 doubleheaders, the Phil Brown Classic slated for July 10-12 and postseason games firing up July 28.
Jack Brown Stadium is scheduled to host the West Region tournament July 28 through Aug. 1, while the Class A state tournament is planned for Aug. 4-8 in Valley City.
“I was really proud of our executive committee and our directors,” Nold said. “The conversation to cancel the season never came up.”
Jamestown Class A Senior Babe Ruth coach Sam Joseph said his team will be ready beginning next week. Joseph led Post 14 to an overall record of 15-12 in 2019, going 12-2 in the Class A West.
“A lot of guys are happy right now,” said Joseph, whose players weren’t afforded a 2020 high school season. “We’ve been doing scheduled workouts, individually and some small groups until everything else opens up. But the guys have been putting in a lot of work, getting their time in hitting and throwing and stuff like that. They’re ready to go.”
Nold explained changes will be taking place to help protect those involved from contracting COVID-19. Those changes will be visible both on the field and in the stands.
“We will be asking people to space out,” Nold said. “We don’t own our facilities and (Jamestown Parks and Rec Director) Doug Hogan and his staff over at the park board have really worked with us to make sure that not only are we abiding by the rules they need to abide by, but also keeping people safe. That’s important to us.”
Nold said most youth games will be officiated by a single umpire positioned behind the pitcher’s mound, which could also include the varsity contests.
“Just to decrease the contact between a home plate umpire and a catcher initially,” Nold said. “You’re also gonna see sportsmanship gestures instead of physical handshake lines.”
North Dakota Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken has stated it plans to follow the leadership and advice of the Governor's office, the North Dakota Department of Health and local health units in regard to safety and COVID-19.
“It still is unchartered,” Nold added. “We’re doing what we think is the right thing for our kids and our communities, but we also understand that we have to be very responsive to the ebbs and flows of what’s happening in our society right now, and, quite frankly, our No. 1 goal has to be protecting our players, coaches and our fans as well.”
Jamestown Class A Senior Babe Ruth Schedule
(SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
May 29: Dickinson AA, 1 / 3 p.m.
June 3: Fargo, 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
June 8: Bismarck Senators, 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
June 17: @Williston, 5 / 7 p.m.
June 18: @Watford City, noon / 2 p.m.
June 22: @Bismarck Reps, 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
June 23: @Aberdeen, 5 / 7 p.m.
June 25: @Mandan, 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
June 29: Bismarck Caps, 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
July 9: @Grand Forks, 5 / 7 p.m.
July 10-12: Phil Brown Classic at Jack Brown Stadium, TBD.
July 14: @Dickinson noon / 2 p.m.
July 24: @Fargo, 5:30 p.m.
July 28-Aug. 1: West Region tournament at Jack Brown Stadium, TBD.
Aug. 4-Aug. 8: State tournament at Valley City, TBD.
North Dakota Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball
2020 state tournaments
12 Cal Ripken, Park River, July 30-Aug. 2
Babe Ruth, Kindred July 31-Aug. 4.
9 Year Old Cal Ripken, Bismarck, July 30-Aug. 2
10 Year Old Cal Ripken, Mandan, July 30-Aug. 2
11 Year Old Cal Ripken, Minot, July 30-Aug. 2
12 Year Old Cal Ripken, Wahpeton, July 30-Aug. 2
13 Year Old Babe Ruth, Devils Lake, July 30-Aug. 2
14 Year Old Babe Ruth, Fargo, July 30-Aug. 2
13-15 Year Old Bab Ruth, Williston, July 22-July 25
Senior Babe Ruth, Valley City, Aug. 4-Aug. 8
Senior Babe Ruth, Bismarck, Aug. 4-Aug. 8