For those in the sports world waiting for a little good news, it came on Wednesday as Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb opened up a significant amount of recreational activities back to the public.

One group who considered it particularly significant was those involved with Washington’s Chuck Harmon Little League. Although the decision was made several weeks ago not to cancel, but instead delay the season, Holcomb basically opened up city ball fields, tennis courts, campgrounds and outdoor basketball courts beginning Friday, in essence, Little League fans “got a pardon from the governor.”

Wednesday, the governor released: “Physical activities can expand under the next stage with the opening of gyms, fitness centers and recreational sports. Contact sports, such as football and lacrosse, are still prohibited. Baseball fields, tennis courts and basketball courts may reopen.”

The Little League season was supposed to start on July 6 and run into very early August, but looks like it will now begin June 22 according to Little League president Ty Madison.

“We really considered that to be good news (the governor’s statement). Not only do we get to start practicing a lot earlier, we are also picking up a lot of extra dates to be able to spread things out a little more. We are going to have to have a meeting next week, but I believe the season will go from June 22 to July 24. I think we will now be able to start practicing with teams by June 1st.”

Madison believes that the extra time will help on several different levels.

“This will give us some more available dates for rain outs. Because we are only going to use three fields, and are going to flip-flop major and minor league teams to help keep crowds down, this earlier start will also give us more flexibility to schedule,” said Madison.

“We think this will allow us to still have our Chuck Harmon Tourney as well, but it will be in a more condensed form. I have already had six or seven teams contact me, so we still think that we can have it. Being able to hold that, we should be able to raise enough money to keep our mowing going into the fall without dipping into other money,” Madison added. “We are also limiting teams in the tourney to just 8, 10 and 12-year-olds this year.”

Madison said it will still take several days before all the arrangements are made to finalize the Chuck Harmon teams before actual practice begins June 1.

“We had a few players drop out on the softball, but I got a few calls in the last couple of days of people who wanted to join, so we might have to change a few teams around, but we should address that in the next couple of days.”

Although things have loosened up a little, Madison said, they will still be taking social distancing very seriously and will continue to enforce the policies they set forth when they decided to initially play the season. “Things like using a minimum number of fields and having different age groups play on different nights should help us reduce the number of people in the complex.

“Although teams won’t be practicing for a little bit, the fields and batting cages are open now for individual use, so people can still have a chance to get a little work in right now.”

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