Nevada County sports scene benched by COVID-19 | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County sports scene benched by COVID-19

For the first time since World War II, the Nevada County Fastpitch Softball League will not have a season.

The league has been a local sporting staple for more than eight decades and over the years has showcased some of the best athletic talent in the community. But, due to COVID-19 and the county’s restrictions on youth and adult team sports, the 2020 fastpitch season has been canceled.

League President Tom Allen had originally postponed the season, but recently called the 2020 campaign off in a Facebook post.

“I am very disappointed to have to post this, but there will not be a 2020 summer Fastpitch season due to state and city mandates, the park is closed and there does not seam to be any hope in the near future,” Allen said in the July 7 post. “If something changes I will try to do something in the fall, hope to see everyone back for a 2021 season.”

With the announcement, the league joins several others that have had to shelve the season due to COVID-19-related issues.

As the pandemic stretches into the summer months and with cases surging locally and across the state, the Nevada County sports scene has been benched for the most part.

Other popular recreational sports leagues such as the Gold Country Senior Softball League and the Nevada County Adult Sports Association have also cancelled their respective seasons.

The Western Nevada County Slo-Pitch Softball League, the county’s largest recreational league, is still looking to get on the field at some point this summer.

“There does not seem to be any new information for a ‘team sports’ opening plan from the state,” the league said in a statement posted to its Facebook page July 21. “We are ready to implement any safety protocols required and fields are ready for play. Team managers have been contacted and refunds are available to any team that does not want to wait this out. Teams also have the option to keep fees on the books until opening a season. Including the possibility that we may be waiting until next spring.”

CANCELLATIONS

According to the current Nevada County Health Department’s reopening guidelines, “no recreational team sports are permitted at this time. This is true for both youth and adults. Members of the same household may engage in such activities and sports together.”

Other popular community summer sporting events like the Barbara Schmidt Millar Triathlon, Sierra Gold Masters Track and Field Festival, and Go for the Gold Regatta have all been cancelled due to the pandemic as well.

One of the longest running sporting events in the area, the Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race, was postponed in May and is yet to have a date on the 2020 calendar. The Classic was established in 1960 and is one of the longest running criterium races in the country.

“It’s about doing the right thing as per the state,” Race Director Duane Strawser said. “They may say ‘no big events period.’ They may mandate that, and the city and county would pretty much have to follow that.”

The Gold Country Grand Prix, a popular Nevada County running series, has also had to cancel several events, including the Spring Run 5K, Read, Write, Run 5K/10K, and Sierra Gold 1M/5K. The Twin Cities Church Run for the Community 5K did take place, but was done virtually. The Kellermann’s Batwa Challenge 5K/10K is the next race on the grand prix’s schedule and is set for Aug. 22.

When it comes to youth sports, local Little League organizations called off their respective seasons months ago. Gold Country Soccer’s fall recreational play has also been shut down, citing health and safety concerns as well as low registration and restricted field use as the reasons.

The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer Program is in a holding pattern at the moment as it assesses the possibility of a season in the fall.

Sports at the high school level are also on hold. Prep sports won’t start until December at the very earliest per Monday’s announcement by the California Interscholastic Federation and Sac-Joaquin Section.

“What I’ve come to understand is this is the last ditch effort,” Bear River Athletic Director Scott Savoie said of the CIF’s modified prep sports schedule. “If this one doesn’t happen, I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is our last chance to play and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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