The entire 2020 American Legion Baseball season was canceled on Sunday, but teams across the country are still planning to play this summer.
Mississippi state commissioner Mark Herrington announced Sunday night on Twitter that the season was canceled in all 50 states due to COVID-19 and “all the legal and liabilities that come with it.”
In a phone interview on Monday morning, Herrington said teams in Mississippi can still play baseball this summer, but their seasons will not be sponsored by American Legion.
There are four returning Legion baseball teams in the state – the Tupelo 49ers, Pontotoc Red Sox, Batesville Pirates, and Hub City Bombers – and two teams that were supposed to field a team for the first time this season in Waynesboro and Pearl River Central.
Amory’s team, the North MS Indians, was not planning to field a squad this summer.
“Teams can still be independent, buy insurance, and continue to play baseball this summer,” Herrington said. “But nothing they do will be affiliated with American Legion. I was going to wait until May 20 to make the call, but it was nipped in the bud nationally this weekend.”
Both area teams are planning on playing this summer.
The only requirement for teams to play is to have insurance, which 49ers coach McKinley Holland said his team has already.
Holland is reaching out to teams from Alabama and Louisiana to see who is still planning on playing this summer. He is also reaching out to both of the two new teams, Waynesboro and Pearl River Central, to see if they will continue to try and field teams and, if so, get them on the schedule.
He hopes to begin the 49ers’ season the first weekend of June.
“There are several Legion teams, especially in the South, that are still planning on playing,” Holland said. “With games not being sanctioned by American Legion, yes that’s tough because you want something to play for, but the way our organization operates, we are playing for something every game. We are playing to win and playing to get better regardless if it’s Legion sanctioned or not.”