Local youth baseball, softball programs gearing up for their summer seasons

It won't be much longer for youth baseball and softball players, as Pittsfield Little League and Babe Ruth baseball will look to start play on Monday. Pittsfield Girls Softball is aiming to start later this week.

It won't be long before the sounds of silence are replaced by the ping of ball meeting bat.

"They have prepared diligently. They're ready to go. We have the safety protocols in place," said Bryon Sherman, District 1 administrator for Little League. "We're happy to get the kids back on the field."

Sherman and officials for Pittsfield Babe Ruth baseball and Pittsfield Girls Softball are awaiting the final word from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's coronavirus task force on a go time to begin playing. Pittsfield Little League and Babe Ruth are scheduled to have games on Monday, while league president Bree Goddard said Pittsfield Girls Softball will likely take to the diamond this coming weekend.

"Guidelines are supposed to come out" Monday, Goddard said, "for all of youth sports. If they're fairly easy, we may start games the end of the week or over the weekend. That's how intense the guidelines are."

Goddard said the coaches and the players are more than ready to begin.

"The kids are very excited. My 12-year old is sitting next to me with a grin on her face right now," Goddard said. "They're itching to play a real game. Practices get old after a while."

Pittsfield Little League and Babe Ruth are scheduled to begin playing games on Monday. Little League has games scheduled at Deming and Clapp Parks. The Babe Ruth games will also be played at Deming and Clapp. All games are scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.

If the games end up being postponed, Sherman said that Little League will treat it as a rainout.

"That's the way I advised them to approach it," Sherman said. "That's the best way. Otherwise, we're going to be doing everything from scratch again. Just treat it as a rainout.

"If the guidance is we can't start for another week, then we would revise [the schedule]. I can't see that being the case."

Pittsfield American, Pittsfield National and Dalton-Hinsdale all have tentative schedules put together. They will be sent out when the state makes its final approvals of youth sport start ups. There are six teams in each Pittsfield league. Two teams from Great Barrington will play against Pittsfield American teams. There are a half-dozen or so players from Adams who will play with teams from Dalton-Hinsdale.

Dave Wildgoose, the president of Pittsfield Babe Ruth Baseball, has a similar plan do deal with if there

Babe Ruth will begin with a 13-15 league that starts play on Monday and a 16-18, high school league. That schedule will begin shortly.

Wildgoose said that Great Barrington and Lee will have teams in the 13-15 division, along with eight Pittsfield teams for a 10-team league. He said that Babe Ruth approved the change for 2020.

The 16-18 league will play its games at Taconic High School. There will be a couple of teams from the Sheffield-Great Barrington area, a team with Lee, along with two Pittsfield teams. One will be coached by Pittsfield High School coach Seamus Morrison and will consist of Pittsfield players. Drury coach Robert Jutras will coach a team made up of Taconic, Drury and Wahconah players for the five-team league. This league looks to get started July 13, but that will depend on practice schedules and when they can get going.

"We're targeting 12-14 games," Wildgoose said. "We might be able to squeeze in a couple of games, but we'll see how it works timing-wise with colleges coming back. They'll have a good six-week season, and it will help fill the gap for those kids that didn't get to play."

Goddard said Pittsfield Girls Softball will have teams from Adams playing in their house leagues this summer.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.