Nevada approves high school summer sports

Joe Randleman Staff Writer
Jordan Barrett and the rest of the Nevada baseball and softball players are all smiles after Nevada officially approved a high school baseball and softball season for 2020. The first practices were held Monday and games will start on June 15. Nevada Journal file photo by Joe Randleman.

The Nevada school district has officially approved high school and JV baseball and softball for 2020.

The school announced in a press release May 27 that high school and JV will hold a season for both sports. Middle school baseball and softball were suspended by the state.

“We have spent a significant amount of time in preparation for plans A, B, C and D over the last couple of months,” Nevada athletic director Dustin Smith said. “We have been ready to pivot either way depending on guidance. Nevada will be prepared for practices on June 1st and games on June 15th, including live feeds for both JV and Varsity contests with a play-by-play announcer during the varsity contest.”

Nevada will be following guidelines set forth by the Governor’s office, the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Health, Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union on Wednesday in relation to COVID-19 safety.

“I think the IHSAA and the Department of Health did a great job working together to make sure that we can ensure everyone’s health while starting to get back to a sense of normalcy,” Nevada head baseball coach Patrek Tufts said. “There will be many precautions taken before and after practice to make sure that everyone stays safe.”

There will be signs posted at the Nevada ball fields noting that bleachers are limited to designated rows, there will be no concessions and any child under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or kept in close proximity. Spectators or parents dropping off athletes must be kept in their vehicle and that individuals experiencing illness should not be on the premise.

“Student and staff safety is always our foremost priority and that has been especially true during this unprecedented situation,” Nevada Superintendent Dr. Steve Gray said. “We have released our current guidelines and precautions for summer sports, yet know that additional measures may be required. I’m confident that our administration, coaches, support staff, players, parents and spectators will do everything possible to put safety first and make this a successful and enjoyable experience for our student-athletes.”

The new guidelines will require coaches and players to make big adjustments to their practice and game routines. Players and coaches will not engage in physical contact, only players written in the lineup will be allowed in dugouts during games, equipment will frequently be sanitized, using hand sanitizer between each inning is encouraged and temperatures will be checked upon arrival among other guidelines.

“We will have our trainers and local doctors coming in during the first couple days of practice to make sure that things are going smoothly and to help everyone see the importance and it will definitely be different than past years,” Tufts said. “With that said, I know this group of young men and they really want to play baseball, so they will do whatever it takes.”

The spectators are also expected to adhere to social distances measures.

“I have faith that our fans, visiting fans, players, coaches and officials will take social distancing measures seriously so that the baseball and softball experience goes smoothly,” Smith said. “I hope it feels ‘normal’ or as ‘normal’ as we can get.”

Getting the teams up to speed will also require some work. Practice starts June 1 and the first games June 15.

“Not having a full offseason will obviously have its effects early in the season but we will make the most of it,” Tufts said. “One positive from it all is that it has given some kids a lot of much needed rest. Arms will be fresh for the season. We will be doing more conditioning than most years but I know that we will be ready to go come June 15th.”

Teams will play a shortened schedule.

The state softball tournament will be held July 27-31 at the Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge. The state baseball tournament is to take place July 24-Aug. 1 at Principal Park in Des Moines.

“With no offseason, the short amount of time to prepare and get them physically in shape and ready will keep us very busy,” Nevada head softball coach John Bass said.

But Bass feels it’ll be worth putting up with everything to get back on the field.

“I’m looking forward to getting a chance to coach these girls again,” Bass said. “They are a great group and I hope we’re able to have some fun now that we are able to play.”