BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The coronavirus outbreak has forced the sports world to shut down nationwide. Even America’s pastime, baseball, from the little leagues to the Major Leagues is on hiatus amid the pandemic.
In Biloxi, there was one league that didn’t strikeout.
The baseball diamonds at Biloxi’s AJ Holloway Sports Complex might have been one of the few places in the country on Saturday where you heard the crack of a bat or the cheers of a pre-game huddle.
The decision to proceed with games for the opening day of Biloxi Youth Baseball and Girls’ Softball League was a difficult one for the league to make, as COVID-19 continues to spread. Coach and city councilman Kenny Glavan said they’re keeping a close eye on the situation.
“We’re going to take whatever precautions we need to to ensure the wellbeing of everyone, but at the same time, there’s a balance, and we got to live. And we’ll continue to do that until we know there’s certain other steps we need to take,” Glavan said.
Some of those precautions include urging those who are sick or at high risk to become sick to stay home, and, of course, encouraging plenty of handwashing.
“So I think you got some of the cleanest hands to start baseball in Biloxi today,” Glavan said.
The young players were glad for a chance to get out and be active.
“Just hanging out with friends, having fun. Just a nice experience," said Nathan Haddock.
For parents, it was a way to establish some sense of normalcy amid the chaos.
“What we’re seeing is just so, it’s scary. And especially as a parent, exposing your child to things that could be dangerous, but we trust the board that made the decision to go ahead and go ahead, so we feel okay,” said Ashley LaCasse.
“I think with most things we always look at the risks and try to mitigate the risks, from hand sanitizer and then baseball not really a close contact sport, so just putting in some good habits and measures to keep them safe, I think the kids agree,” said Guy Burrowes.
Though it’s unclear what the future holds, they agree Saturday was a home run.
“It’s just fun. Spring is for baseball. It’s just fun,” LaCasse said.
The league did cancel the opening ceremonies for Saturday’s games out of caution.
It said they plan to follow the advice of the Mississippi High School Athletic Association and state agencies to make decisions about future games.