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Little leagues to play ball this summer

By Staff | May 29, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT Rugby Summer Recreation Program Director Landen Foster stands near the concession stand at the city baseball diamond.

Local youth will hear “play ball” this summer thanks to a modified youth little league and softball program okayed by Rugby’s city recreation committee last week.

Signups for the program took place last Thursday through Tuesday after the committee voted last Wednesday to open summer youth sports.

“We’re trying to make it as normal for the kids as possible,” Director Landen Foster said of this year’s recreation program. “But at the same time, we have to be very cautious,” Foster added. “We’d hate for there to be a (COVID-19) outbreak because of rec.”

“We’re taking precautions and following guidelines,” Foster noted. “We’re going to stay away from contact with the kids nobody touching each other or anything like that.”

“Then, we’re going to be wiping down surfaces after practices, before practices and multiple times a day,” he added.

Foster said staff would encourage social distancing, even on dugout benches.

“We’re going to keep (the players) spaced apart as much as we can,” he said.

“We’ll see how that goes as far as how well we’re able to, but we’re going to try and practice the guidelines as best as we can,” Foster added.

The program is open to youth ages 5-15 and includes tee ball, baseball and both slow and fast pitch softball.

Foster said the softball team will play slow and fast pitch games “depending on who they’re playing. Some teams prefer slow pitch and some prefer fast pitch.”

The softball schedule “looks different from (the baseball schedule),” Foster noted.

“We have kind of a crunch since (the city recreation committee) just passed this last week. We’re trying to get registration done now,” he added.

Foster said Tuesday the number of players registering for this summer is “a little bit lower than what we expected, but I think we’ll be back close to normal. We might have kids show up the first day of practices that haven’t registered yet, so we’re hoping for around normal numbers.”

“We’ve had I think four parents come in and sign their kids up,” he added. “It was kind of a last-minute thing.”

Practices “should begin June 1,” Foster said. “We have to get some disinfectant from the city. We have to have that before we can start our practices. If we don’t have that by June 3, we’ll start June 8, which is a Monday.”

Coaches and rec staff will sanitize baseballs, bats, and other equipment before and after all practices and games, according to Foster.

“We’re going to wipe (surfaces) before and after practices. Also, the dugouts and benches and bleachers people sit on we have to disinfect those as well,” he added.

Foster, a Rugby High graduate is a junior at Concordia College in Minnesota, majoring in biological sciences with a minor in environmental studies. “I played baseball, basketball and football at Rugby High,” he said.

Foster said this summer will be his first year as recreation director. “I’ve been coaching for four years,” he said. “This will be my fifth year here and I’ll coach this year as well.”

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