HUMBOLDT — To keep its players safe, one of the measures the Humboldt Girls Softball Association is taking is having a volunteer sanitization coach for each team.
That coach is in charge of cleaning surfaces and ensuring players are distanced on benches.
“We make sure every half an inning we’re sanitizing balls, bats, bat handles, any high touch areas,” Chris Stadnyk, president of the association.
Questions are also asked to try to detect COVID-19 symptoms.
The president said the association has invested a lot of time to ensure its players’ safety.
“Myself, the treasurer and our vice-president, together the three of us put in more time this year than probably the last three years, and that’s just dealing with a lot of talking back and forth with Softball Saskatchewan and coming up with the game plan of where we can return to play, but safely.”
Stadnyk said their most difficult challenge is trying to get the younger kids to distance from one another.
“It’s just young girls like to socialize, young kids like to socialize and it’s not that they’re not educated enough that they know it’s a pandemic, it’s just they associate playing ball with having fun, which means playing with their friends,” he said.
“They think, ‘Well, since we play together at the park, why can’t we play together on the ball field?’”
The season began on July 13, with practice beginning on July 1, and is expected to go until the second week of August.
There was a drop in the number of players this year, resulting in the association cutting out the U16 team for the season, and opening signups to surrounding communities such as Lanigan, Watrous, Wadena and Muenster.
“Our numbers have dropped, probably in half. We struggled to find teams, we actually grabbed players in surrounding communities just to make up teams,” Stadnyk said.
“Our league itself has probably seen the lowest numbers it has ever seen.”