Vermont Summer Baseball League to Substitute for Canceled Legion Season
The pop of the glove and the ping of the bat are back.
"I was so excited," said Cooper O'Brien of Vergennes. "I really just wanted to be back on the field because I missed it so much."
"It's a relief almost," added recent CVU grad Lars Jensen. "Glad that I could get out of the field one time this year."
Despite the cancellation of the legion baseball season, players between the ages of 15 and 19 will get their chance to step up to the plate soon.
"In all honesty, we just wanted to provide an opportunity for the kids so they can at least get a chance," said CVU and SD Ireland Legion Baseball coach Tim Albertson. "A lot of these guys are going on and trying to play in college or just trying to have one more season so they can say, 'You know what, I played a little baseball before I got done.'"
The Vermont Summer Baseball League is the brainchild of 13 high school and legion baseball coaches around the state, including Albertson.
"Seven in the South, six in the North. Luckily a lot of it's local so it keeps things pretty easy, travel's minimal. We are going to try and play a state-wide tournament at the end of the year," Albertson said.
A typical Legion Baseball season in Vermont would be made up of 16 teams, but while the VSBL will add a team in Manchester, players from four other areas have had to join up with new teams due to logisitcal issues or lack of participation.
"I know that Franklin County isn't able to have a team, they're struggling to get a field," Albertson said. "A lot of those players are starting to talk to the Colchester coach and the Essex coach. OEC wasn't gonna have a team. Addison chose not to have a team, they just could get the participation and the backing so I have a couple players from the Addison area."
"We actually only got two committed players, which I was devastated because I grew up playing for them," O'Brien said. "But I'm really happy that they took me in."
Now obviously they have had to follow state guidelines and be creative to try and keep everyone safe...and they're still figuring out some of the specific protocols.
"We can't actually go in the dugout. I don't know if you can see but everyone's at the different poles which is kinda weird," Jensen said.
"The one worry I would have would be when there's a runner on first and the first baseman's holding them on because I mean, you're really close there," O'Brien said.
"The defensive team, or the team that's pitching is going to take care of all the baseballs so that way the umpires don't have to touch it," Albertson added. "I bought gaiters for all the guys. Kids are gonna have to come in to get their own gloves as opposed to somebody bringing it out to them in between innings."
But even though it's not going to be exactly the same, everyone involved is just happy to have baseball this summer.
"Being able to see all the work that you've put in so far pay off in some sort of way, it's awesome and something to look back on," Jensen said.
They don't have a schedule set just yet, but they're hoping to begin play as close to July 1st as possible. In Hinesburg, Jack Fitzsimmons, Channel 3 sports.