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Rec-sports leagues in Nevada County still ‘up in the air’

In mid-May, Western Nevada County Slo-Pitch Softball Association Commissioner Steve Loomis expressed cautious optimism that teams would be on the field and competing by July.

That optimism was quelled last week when the Nevada County Public Health Department updated its COVID-19 guidelines, stating that, “no recreational team sports are permitted at this time, either for youth or for adults.”

“We have to wait until they say we can play,” said Loomis, noting if the season doesn’t start by August it may have to be canceled.

The popular softball league offers several men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions that play on multiple diamonds in Grass Valley, including Les Eva Field at Memorial Park and Litton Field, which is a private facility. Loomis said league officials are brainstorming ideas on how to proceed with games at Litton, and have reached out to county officials looking for clarity about what is allowed at private facilities.

The softball association has already scrapped its spring season and is hoping to salvage its summer season.

Loomis said team managers and players are understanding for the most part, but frustrated.

“People understand, they just want to vent,” he said. “They want to play. It’s a distraction from everyday life. It’s something to look forward to.”

The Nevada County Adult Sports Association, which had its spring basketball and volleyball seasons interrupted by the pandemic, had also hoped for a July return, but association Organizer Rich Ramirez said he is calling the season off and offering team managers a refund or, if they prefer, putting the spring league fees toward a fall season.

“Right now, it’s whatever the county says, is what we have to go by,” Ramirez said. “I decided to just stop the spring league, and start from scratch in September and see what happens.”

Adult Sports Association games are played at the Grass Valley Veterans Building, which is currently being used as a COVID-19 test site.

Two other softball leagues are planning to make a decision on the season next week.

The Nevada County Fastpitch Softball League would normally be halfway through its season by now, but never got the first pitch off due to COVID-19.

“We’re up in the air. We don’t know,” said League President Tom Allen. “It’s disappointing, but it’s pretty much out of my hands. I’ve been hoping to hear some good news from the county, but it seems that’s not coming.”

The Gold Country Senior Softball Association, which plays games at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley, is also at a standstill. That association’s board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to determine if a season is salvageable.

Samba Soccer in Grass Valley had recently resumed adult league play with strict safety precautions in place. After being notified about the updated county guidelines, owner Jo-Anne Arendell said she and her other partners will have to discuss how they move forward.

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


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