A new independent league hopes to fill the void left behind by legion baseball

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)- The legion baseball may have been canceled, but that isn’t stopping sixteen teams in South Dakota.

The National Headquarters of American Legion announced on Sunday, May 10 that the American Legion would not have a sanctioned season in 2020.

The South Dakota American Legion Athletic Commission made the decision to sanction the season on May 14, so that the teams could be sponsored by their local legion post and they could use their jerseys.

In a press release Thursday,  Chairman of the SD American Legion Athletic Commission Dan Sudbeck said “This program is your (the teams) baby for this year and we will be back next year.”

While the legion teams around the state were disappointed, it still left an opportunity to create a new independent league.

Sioux Falls Post 15 East and West play through the Sioux Empire Baseball Association in Sioux Falls. SEBA Executive Director Chad Barman was ready to find a way for kids to get on the field.

“The main goal of this independent league is to provide a quality baseball experience for kids in the communities that participate in Class A Legion baseball,” Barman said.

What is the independent league?

“The independent league was cooperatively created by the 16 members of Class A American Legion within South Dakota,” SEBA Executive Director Chad Barman said. “There were several zoom conference calls to work through details of how this will work.  In the end, a product that will very closely emulate a normal summer of baseball has been created.”

In Thursday’s announcement from the South Dakota Legion Athletic Commission said that the league could follow the American Legion rules.

While there will be no sanctioned legion baseball in the country this year, the new independent league will look similar to a normal legion season.

“As stated, the league will look very much like a traditional summer. Teams are allowed to play whatever type of schedule they like,” Barman said. “The PowerPoints system that was agreed upon for legion baseball will be utilized for this league as well.  Legion rules will also be utilized.”

Unlike other leagues in the state, the new independent league will not have any safety guidelines of their own, as they will follow the guidance of local leaders.

“Each program will follow the guidelines set in place by their communities. This varies significantly from city to city throughout the state,” Barman said.

A new postseason

The new independent league will have a unique look when it comes to postseason baseball. 

Similar to professional leagues of baseball, the postseason will include 3 games series, where the first team to win two games, will win the series.

“You’re going to want to follow the new postseason format.  We are doing two rounds of best 2 of 3.  That will lead into a four team double elimination tournament held at the highest seed.  This is probably the part of the league I am most excited about.”

More information is expected to come as we get closer to the start of the 2020 season.

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