Canceling Little League a ‘difficult decision’

Matt McCarthy/Daily News Photo THE FIRST BASE dugout at a Little League baseball field sits empty at Marion Park in Norway. This would have been the site of the Michigan 8-10 year old state tournament championship game. On Saturday, Norway, Iron Mountain and Kingsford Area Little League organizations canceled their regular seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NORWAY — A decision that was hanging in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic was made and announced Saturday afternoon. The three area Little League organizations have announced the cancellation of their regular seasons.

This situation has developed in stages since late April, with Little League International’s first-ever outright cancellation of the Little League World Series. At that point in time, LLI gave individual states permission to have tournaments up to, and including, state tournaments.

However, state tournaments will not happen in Michigan this summer, due to the state’s 16 district administrators voting to cancel state tournaments in Michigan; a vote that took place early in May.

Norway had been scheduled to host the 8-10 year- old boys baseball state tournament at Marion Park in Norway in mid -July.

“It’s always a disappointment when things get canceled but there was no way that the Michigan Little League could hold a state tournament this year,” said Norway Area Little League Treasurer Brett Baij. “We were looking forward to showing off this area, but with the cancellation of all the state tournaments, we will now be hosting that tournament in 2021.”

The Michigan district administrators said that regular season Little League games could still be played, as well as district tournaments, in areas where conditions warrant. Ultimately, the decision for this area’s three Little League organizations, came down to the current status of the coronavirus pandemic and safety concerns for everyone


“Canceling the 2020 season was an extremely difficult decision as we knew the kids were holding out hope to play,” said Kingsford Area Little League President Brock Wallis. “We used the information we had at the time and ultimately, there were still too many unknowns. The safety of the kids, coaches and league volunteers was our number one priority.”

Wallis also noted that in collaborating with the other local leagues, he and the other Kingsford Little League board members agreed it was the right choice for the area.

“We would like to thank all of the parents for their patience and understanding as they waited for a decision,” Wallis said. “We wish everyone a safe and healthy

summer and we look forward to seeing all of the players next spring.”

Wallis, along with Nor- way Area Little League president Brian Adams and Iron Mountain Area Little League president Lindsey Solka, came to the decision jointly.

Solka on her personal Facebook account, posted the following on Sunday in regards to this situation:

“It is with great disappointment that we announce the Iron Mountain North Area Little League (IMNALL) Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 Baseball and Softball season for both Iron Mountain and North Dickinson teams due the unprecedented circumstances of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.”

In an interview on Mon- day, Adams noted that the

decision to cancel wasn’t taken lightly, but became necessary given the current circumstances with the early portion of the season already missed.

Here is a portion of the statement that was posted on the Norway Area Little League’s official Facebook page on Saturday:

“It is with great disappointment that we announce the Norway Area Little League 2020 baseball and softball season is canceled. It is due to the unprecedented circumstances of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

While this was not an easy decision to make, there are still too many unknowns about the virus, and the safety of our kids, parents, and fans was the overwhelming factor. Our league’s safety is of the utmost importance to us.”

All three area Little League organizations noted that over the next few weeks, the leagues will be working to refund those who have paid their league fees.

Nearly a month ago, it was reported that the new District 10 District Administrator is Renee Lundberg of Gladstone, taking over for longtime District Administrator Don Howes, also of Gladstone.

Howes had announced over the winter, that he was going to step down after the annual District 10 spring meeting. He informed the Daily News that he was not able to step down due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Howes notes that Lund- berg, as planned, will be his replacement once he’s able to step down. He has been involved in District 10 Little League for 50 years.


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