Even though high school and American Legion baseball seasons have been cancelled this summer, area high school kids may still have an opportunity to get on the diamond. With “Safer at Home” orders lifted a group of baseball enthusiasts are working to organize an independent baseball league for area youth.
Nate Wilke of Beaver Dam says that once the American Legion season got cancelled and the country began to open up a bit, coaches and baseball organizations across the area began discussing ways to give kids a chance to play some sort of organized baseball. He says that in Beaver Dam, not many kids are going on to play college athletics, and with the spring sports season cancelled, they were never allowed any closure of their prep career. He says this league would give them one last chance to compete with their teammates. Wilke ads that with many other communities in Wisconsin having kids playing travel ball across the country this summer, it allows the younger kids to not miss out on a whole summer of development.
Organizers have had online meetings with those interested in fielding teams and right now it looks like the league could look very much like the old East Central American Legion Conference with teams stretching all across South Central Wisconsin. Wilke says they would like to play a 14 to 16 game regular season schedule, split into a North Division and South Division, and possibly ending the year with some sort of playoff.
Wilke says that interest was so strong here that Beaver Dam may be able to field a Varsity and a JV/Freshman for the league. He anticipates a very fluid coaching staff for the Beaver Dam teams with various people helping out throughout the season.
With COVID-19, still an issue, Wilke the league will do everything they can to provide a safe playing environment for the players, coaches, umpires and fans. He says they will have a plan to keep everything clean and sanitized. They would also work through things such as if they can have concessions, where to put fans and even umpires to make sure everyone is socially distanced.
This would be an independent league with no financial support from the high school and American Legion Baseball, meaning all uniforms, equipment, umpires and insurance would be funded privately.
Click the link below to hear a complete interview with Nate Wilke
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