PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — Professional sports aren’t happening right now because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Neither are college, high school, or youth sports.
Families in Pickerington now know kids sports won’t be happening at all this spring or this summer.
Saturday should have been opening day for the Pickerington youth baseball and softball leagues.
There should have been families and players all over with 20 games happening.
Instead, because of COVID-19, the gates are locked and fields are empty.
League organizers said between baseball and softball, almost 500 kids were registered to play this season.
But it’s going to be a spring without playing on the diamond for them.
Braeden Neff plays in the Pickerington Youth Athletic Association’s (PYAA) youth baseball league. His younger sister Brenna plays in the softball league, enjoying the game for the same reason many do.
“I like to hit the ball far,” she said.
Friday night, PYAA posted on Facebook saying all spring and summer sports are canceled and it can’t wait to get past the virus to a point where it’s safe for the kids to play again.
A couple who helps lead the baseball and softball leagues said they were holding out hope for a bit, but say having to follow social distancing with the kids and the sports would just not have been practical.
“Just trying to have an instructional league with as much hands off as possible to meet the guidelines, it just wasn’t anything we thought we could do,” said Jessica Neff, vice-president of PYAA softball.
“Our family, between our two kids, we’re up here four to five nights a week during the season and to not be up here at all is just so different,” added Mark Neff, president for PYAA baseball. “We miss it as much as the kids do.”
Braeden wishes they would play this year. He wishes he could practice with his friends since he’s getting a little tired of dad.
“Nothing against you, but he’s kind of a bad pitcher,” Braeden said.
The Neffs are now hoping they can play ball in the fall.
The PYAA is now working to get refunds out to all the families who registered for baseball and softball.