SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Empire Baseball Association (SEBA) has joined the long list of sports clubs who have had to postpone/suspend their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the Governor announced a while back that many of the guidelines would be in place through the end of May, we decided that it would be a good idea to adjust the start time of our league at that point. We decided to set our opening practice date to June 1st,” SEBA Executive Director Chad Barman said. “We traditionally have about three weeks of practices before games begin for our SEBA League teams and about two weeks of practices before games begin for our East and West teams.”
Governor Kristi Noem announced South Dakota’s ‘Back to Normal’ plan this past week. Following that, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken announced the opening of parks and businesses in city limits.
“With the parks being opened for non-organized activities, we’ve alerted our participants that it is okay to go and play catch at the parks and utilize the batting cages as long as they maintain responsible group sizes and adhere to the social distancing guidelines that are in place,” Barman said.
SEBA has postponed the start of the season till June 1 and thanks to the reopening plan, the association is optimistic of baseball in the summer.
“There is definitely talk of beginning baseball activities that would allow for gameplay in June and July. The Legion will make their determination on a path forward on May 15th,” Barman said. “This year will almost certainly look different than any other year but hopefully we can provide baseball for the kids in our communities throughout the state.”
The opening of city parks can now allow families to get outdoors and practice, but Barman knows that social distancing must remain a priority.
“This is a good opportunity for families to go out and do things, as well as small groups of friends, so long as their parents are okay with it,” Barman said. “The key is to not screw up this portion of the process so that we can get to the next portion, which would allow for organized activities.”
SEBA was set to host the 2020 Central Plains Regional Tournament which is a qualifier for the Legion World Series.
The American Legion Committee made the decision in April to cancel the 2020 qualifiers which could be beneficial for baseball in SD.
“This is a decision that I am certainly in favor of because it now allows for flexibility at the state level. We are no longer locked into a specific end date in order to have a qualifying team for the Central Plains Regional,” Barman said. “We now can work within the rest of the sports calendar, likely utilizing the beginning of high school football practice as a guideline as to when to have the state tournament completed by.”
Barman and SEBA are hopeful for a chance to host the 2021 regional as the host site for that year has not yet been determined.