ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– For many Stateline residents it wouldn’t be summer without summer softball leagues to play in. This week for the first time this year, the Rockford Park District Leagues are finally open, and softball players are thrilled to be back on the field with their friends and co-workers.
For almost 40 years there has been a men’s softball league here in Rockford. Thanks to Marianne Larson, Sportscore One Manager, and her team’s swift response to Illinois’ phase four Covid-19 contingency plan, the players get to return to action for another season.
“We had to do quite a few operational plans, as the Governor gave guidelines we would redo the plans that would fit into that and each time it would change, we did another operational plan,” Larson said.
As for the players, they’re just excited to be back out there.
“It’s just nice to get out and do some activity,” said First Baseman Keith Wilhelms. “We’re still going to play it safe, you know they’ve got some rules in place for six foot rule and the benches and the dugouts, obviously there’s no fans or family members, but excercise is excercise and we’re just trying to get out here and have some fun and enjoy each other.”
Larson said all participants were given specific rules and instructed to sign a contact tracing waiver.
“We’re kind of really proud that we designed it, and you know, if somebody is positive, then we have a little bit of recourse as to what we can do,” Larson said.
Players are not required to wear face masks during the game, but some, including one umpire, took it upon themselves to be extra cautious.
Despite certain rule changes like an additional home plate to avoid unnecessary contact, players are just happy to be back doing what they love.
“It’s always nice to just get out with the buddies, play a few games, you know… but it’s just nice for the community to get out, have fun with each other, and just have something to actually do,” said Outfielder Mitchael Dye.
League play at Sportscore One runs through Mid-October.