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Home Talent League eyes opening day
Guidelines in place to combat spread of COVID-19; season to begin July 4
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MONROE — There will be amateur local baseball this summer, and Independence Day weekend is scheduled for opening day.

The Home Talent League executive board approved a shortened Sunday League season at its meeting June 6. The beginning of the season has been delayed nearly two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to a press release by league commissioner Pat Reilly, the board spent three hours in session discussing potential problems due to COVID-19, like availability of facilities.

“While approval was given to begin play, it will be under continuous review,” Reilly said. “We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping players and spectators safe.”

Should a player test positive for COVID-19, he would be required to be quarantined for 14 days, and his team would be strongly encouraged to have each player and manager tested. The opposing team and game umpires would be encouraged to be tested.

“If the opposing team the next week does not want to play the team with the infected player, the game will be made up or canceled,” Reilly said. “The executive board will also meet with public health officials to determine if league play should continue.”

The season will have about 10 games for each team, less than half of the normal amount. The regular season would end Aug. 23, with a possible championship series Sept. 13 and 20.

Added guidelines for players and teams include sanitizing dugouts before and after games and practices. Players are encouraged to use their own equipment like helmets, bats and catchers gear. Chewing tobacco, gum and sunflower seeds will be prohibited, and players must bring their own water or other drink.

Players are to adhere to social distancing guidelines and bring their own folding chair, as dugout space is limited. There will be no high fives, fist bumps or handshakes. A “tip of the cap” could replace the traditional postgame handshake between the two teams. 

Concessions availability will depend on which municipality the game is played in.

Argyle opens play July 4 with a game at Verona before hosting Shullsburg/Benton the following afternoon. 

Blanchardville’s first game will be July 4 at home against Pine Bluff/Mount Horeb, with a July 5 home game against Dodgeville to follow.

Wiota opens the season with a pair of road games on the first weekend, with an Independence Day clash at Belleville and a trip to Hollandale the next day. Hollandale travels to Dodgeville July 4 for opening day.

Belleville hosts Verona July 5, while Shullsburg/Benton opens play July 4 against West Middleton at home.

The Night League will not have a postseason, and offers a six-game slate beginning July 9. Argyle will play at Shullsburg/Benton July 9, while Wiota will be at Blanchardville and Hollandale at Belleville.