Young baseball players in Belle Plaine will get a chance to stretch their legs a bit this summer as state guidelines pertaining to gatherings continue to ease.

For two weeks, June 1-15, the Belle Plaine Youth Baseball Association and its seven teams will be allowed to participate in distance practices, according to association president Jason Noll. This means up to 10 people, including coaches, will be allowed to go on practice fields, provided each person keeps a distance of 6 feet from others.

At the moment, no competition is allowed for youth baseball teams, but Noll remains optimistic that following a second phase of eased guidelines, more players and coaches will get a chance to practice. A third phase, which has not been announced, would allow regular inter-city competition, Noll said.

The restrictions mean that Belle Plaine’s youth baseball teams are required to rotate segments of their teams with one portion of a team taking the field at a time in what he called “pods.”

Some players’ families continue to express hesitance to allow their children to begin practice because older adults, like grandparents who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, share homes with prospective players.

“The fear is that some of these kids will lose interest,” Noll said, stating that some players may end up not playing baseball for a year or more.

The youth practice season comes before the Belle Plaine town baseball team  announced the 22nd annual Tigertown Classic was canceled. The team hopes to reschedule for mid-June of next year.

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