Home Talent League returns July 4 weekend

MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Eric Simon (left) and Middleton's Home Talent League team will begin their new season the weekend of July 4./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Excitement. Eagerness. Exhilaration.

All mixed with a large dose of cautiousness.

The Home Talent League plans to begin its season on the weekend of July 4 with new several social distancing measures now in place. Teams were supposed to start play in May, but the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Night League season was canceled.

“We're pretty excited as a team to get out there and start the season,” Middleton manager Brandon Hellenbrand said. “The Home Talent board did send out guidelines for each team to follow. I think if each team follows these guidelines, we can be in for a successful season.”

Cross Plains manager Randy Meinholz agreed.

“I feel everyone is ready to get back to some sort of normalcy,” Meinholz said. “Hopefully baseball will help with this. This whole process is a fluid work in progress and I think anything can happen between now and July 4. If the risk factors remain low, I feel we should really try to get this shortened season in.”

Right now, the plan is for teams to play 10 regular season games — down from 16 most years. The postseason format will likely be adjusted, as well, with a potential championship series taking place Sept. 13 and 20.

News Publishing Co. talked to several managers in the area. They all said they expected every one of their players to return.

“As a team I think everyone is excited to start the season,” Sauk Prairie manager Lucas Koenig said. “Home Talent has been a big part of our players' and fans' lives, and it is exciting to get back to some normalcy. 

“As a manager it is important to communicate to our players the guidelines we are following due to COVID-19. We will adjust some of our team routines so that we abide by the safety guidelines. I have not had any players decide to take the year off, although I would understand if they did.”

Right now, games cannot be played in Dane County and Rock County until those counties enter Phase 3 of the 'Badger Bounce Back Plan' instituted by Gov. Tony Evers. Currently, Dane and Rock County remain in Phase 2. If that doesn’t change, area teams will have to find new venues for their games.

“We still have a lot of questions marks for teams here in Dane County,” Hellenbrand said. “Right now we're not allowed to have any games, so hopefully once Phase 2 comes out, they'll allow games. If that doesn’t happen, we'll have to hit the road and play outside of Dane County until we get the all clear.”

An HTL release said that if any players contracted COVID-19, he must be quarantined for 14 days and “we strongly suggest each player and team official present gets tested before the next game. It is strongly suggested the opposing team and umpires get tested, also.

“If the opposing team the next week does not want to play the team with the infected player, the game will be made up or canceled. The Executive Board will also meet with public healthy officials to determine if league play should continue.”

Other recommended guidelines are as follows:

SANITIZING

All dugouts will be sprayed with a sanitizing solution both before and after games and practices. There will be sanitizing agents in both dugouts. Hand sanitizer must also be available in both dugouts and use encouraged during the game or practice.

All shared equipment — bats, helmets, catching gear, etc. — must be sanitized before and after each use.

There will be no going to the mouth by any player especially pitchers.

There will be no chewing of tobacco, seeds, gum, etc., as spitting is prohibited.

 

PLAYERS/COACHES

Wearing face masks is suggested except when playing or coaching a base. Each player and coach should social distance from other players (6 feet) as much as possible. Each player must do a self-evaluation of symptoms and report to the coaches. (If sick, STAY HOME).

All local and league guidelines must be followed at all times. Procedures may be different for each playing field. If player meetings are held, the 6-foot rule must be respected.

Players should arrive and leave the venue alone as much as possible and not congregate by cars, in the parking lot or anywhere else.

 

NO TOUCH RULE

Players and coaches should refrain from high fives, fist bumps, elbow touches, handshake lines, etc., at all times. No physical contact is to take place with teammates, opponents, umpires and fans. After games, a “Tip of the Cap” is acceptable between both teams.

 

EQUIPMENT

It is strongly encouraged that each player provides his own helmet, bat, batting gloves and does not share. Each player should bring a lawn chair to be used in social distancing procedure. Each player must bring his own hydration and not share. There will be no shared water cooler.

 

DUGOUTS

The 6-foot rule must be observed in the dugout area. That likely means two or three players in the dugout with the rest of the team in chairs outside the dugout observing the 6-foot rule. The players can rotate from chairs to dugout as the batting order dictates.

 

FANS AND CONCESSIONS

Concessions will be dictated by local rules and regulations. Fans should observe social distancing in grandstands, bleachers and in lawn chairs. This should be conveyed by the game managers and by the use of signage. Fans should not set up by or behind the dugouts, leaving that area for players.

 

BASEBALLS AND LINE-UPS

Home teams will supply the baseballs for the game. It is recommended that each team receives three baseballs before the game and keeps them until conclusion of the game. Pitchers take one ball with them to the mound when it is their turn to pitch with the other two balls placed on the ground near the home plate umpire. After each half-inning the umpire will roll the balls toward the dugout of the team leaving the field.

Line-up exchange should use social distancing as much as possible to avoid touching. After the umpire accepts the line-ups, substituting should be done verbally as much as possible. For that reason subs should be listed on the line-up cards.

 

HTL SCHEDULE

Games start at 1 p.m. unless noted

 

July 3

Middleton vs. Cross Plains at Sauk Prairie

 

July 4

Ashton at Waunakee

Black Earth at Plain

Cazenovia at Reedsburg, 4 p.m.

Wisconsin Dells at Sauk Prairie, 5 p.m.

Muscoda at Mazomanie, 4 p.m.

 

July 5                                        

Middleton at Black Earth 

Plain at Ashton         

Reedsburg at Wisconsin Dells

Muscoda at Cazenovia

Mazomanie at Sauk Prairie

Waunakee at Cross Plains

                                                  

July 12                    

Waunakee at Reedsburg

Sauk Prairie at Cross Plains

Plain at Muscoda

Black Earth at Mazomanie

Cazenovia at Middleton

Wisconsin Dells at Ashton

                                

July 19                    

Wisconsin Dells at Waunakee

Plain at Sauk Prairie

Black earth at Cazenovia

Mazomanie at Middleton

Cross Plains at Muscoda

Reedsburg at Ashton

 

July 26  

Ashton at Muscoda  

Middleton at Wisconsin Dells  

Black Earth at Sauk Prairie  

Cross Plains at Reedsburg

Cazenovia at Plain

Waunakee at Mazomanie

 

August 2

Waunakee at Middleton

Black Earth at Ashton

Plain at Cross Plains

Reedsburg at Mazomanie

Sauk Prairie at Muscoda

Wisconsin Dells at Cazenovia

 

August 9

Sauk Prairie at Waunakee

Cross Plains at Wisconsin Dells

Reedsburg at Black Earth

Mazomanie at Plain

Ashton at Cazenovia

Muscoda at Middleton

 

August 15                

Black Earth at Waunakee

Ashton at Cross Plains

Middleton at Plain

Sauk prairie at Reedsburg

Mazomanie at Cazenovia 

Muscoda at Wisconsin Dells

 

August 23                

Middleton at Reedsburg 

Waunakee at Cazenovia

Sauk prairie at Ashton

Plain at Wisconsin Dells

Muscoda at Black Earth

Mazomanie at Cross Plains

                                

August 30                

Cross Plains at Black Earth

Cazenovia at Sauk Prairie

Reedsburg at Muscoda

Waunakee at Plain

Middleton at Ashton

Wisconsin Dells at Mazomanie, 2 p.m.

 

 

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