Just like every other sports organization, the New Bethlehem Little League, under a directive from the Little League International, is in a holding pattern.
Nothing until at least April 6, although that’s likely to change … for the longer, it appears.
“We’ve been told by the Little League International and the District 25 Administrator to really not do anything as far gatherings player-wise, through April 6,” NBLL President Dave Hepler said. “So, we will sort of talk through what we need to do next.”
Some field maintenance, in meantime, could be organized, although size of any work crew appears to be an issue moving forward. Hepler said that the flash-flooding that hit the Little League complex last summer damaged the fencing, but that’s been re-installed and the high school softball team had already been on the field prior to this week.
Hepler said league numbers are very similar to last year across the board and the league will field one Junior Little League team, three Major League (9-to-12) baseball, one kid-pitcher Minor League, five machine-pitch teams and six t-ball teams.
In softball, one Junior Little League team will likely play in District 7 this year since the numbers are falling more into the younger softball division with last year’s Senior Little League team playing a District 25 schedule. District 25 has no Junior League softball teams elsewhere.
In the younger softball divisions, it’ll be one Major League (9 to 12) team and three machine pitch teams.
The question is when the calendar/season begins and any all-star calendar that dictates much of what leagues do locally hasn’t been switched yet. It could mean teams opt out of all-stars, but all of that is still in the air.
“They’re telling us not to do anything until April 6, but have done nothing to adjust (the calendar), so to have a season, you have to have 12 games and they may waive that since you have to be done by the beginning of July,” Hepler said.
The complex improvements are now past repairing flood damage, although the hitting cage near the left-field corner where flooding occurred still needs fixed.
“The fence has been put back up and there was no structural damage there,” Hepler said. “The varsity softball team pretty much spearheaded that and they went down and remove the old cement and re-cemented all the posts and put them back in place and we have our yellow protective plastic around it again. As far as the that little league field itself, everything is back together. We paid to have the infield re-done so there’s some new sod there and it’s level and it looks it looks really nice with some drainage stuff taken care of.”
Hepler said that the t-ball field has a drainage issue that needs to be handled and that project remains a few good work days from being handled, but all of that is hanging, as is the season in general, although there should be one, eventually.