Youth baseball first live sporting event to return to Mid-South since coronavirus shut down sports

Youth baseball first live sporting event to return to Mid-South since coronavirus shut down sports

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There was high demand for Gameday Baseball’s Memorial Day tournament in Cordova.

“We’ve been watching this every week online and waiting and waiting to try and get back to some normalcy,” Coach Matthew Poole said.

Poole’s 14AAA team traveled from Kennett, Missouri just to play some ball.

“These boys missed all of their Junior high baseball, so by missing the last nine weeks of school and baseball, man, we needed a break, the parents need a break, the kids definitely need to get out here,” Poole said.

Local players felt the same.

According to Tatum Crosser, he missed, “Just playing the game and being with friends."

For three days, teams hit the diamond like normal times. But for tournament director, Johnny Ray, the behind the scenes is what made it all possible.

“It’s been a little stir crazy,” Ray said. “Trying to facilitate the whole thing to get the word across to people we do have capacity restrictions and if there game time has not started yet or not close to their game time, they don’t need to be in the park.”

The complex is made up of ten fields. The bleachers were cautioned off so fans had to bring their own chairs. Spots were marked six feet apart in the concessions line and players had to make adjustments too.

“We have six kids out of the dugout spread out six feet apart while we’re batting,” Poole noted. “No high fives, no sunflower seeds, kind of odd for baseball, but hey, whatever we have to do to play ball is what we want to do.”

That is exactly what happened. For the first time in 61 days the overall feeling at the park, people were happy to be back.

“Just to see this park come back to life, people out here having fun, not only on the field, but off the field, I think has been a tremendous accomplishment for us to be the first one in Memphis to get back to some sort of athletic normalcy,” Ray added.

“It does seem right that we’re out here, it’s 90 degree weather by the end of the day today and baseball is just the fabric of American life and for these kids who have been playing it for years, to get out here and enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the friendship, the teammates, the teamwork, it is normal," Poole said.

If everything goes as planned, Gameday Baseball will host a tournament every weekend until the end of August to make up for lost tournaments during the coronavirus pandemic.

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