USSSA Baseball Prepares To Play On Jenks Fields Next Weekend With New Rules

Friday, May 8th 2020, 5:44 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

After eight weeks without baseball, Green Country kids are ready to get back on the field.

Sports complexes can start reopening if Oklahoma moves into phase two of reopening on May 15th, which is next Friday.

A youth baseball tournament is scheduled for next weekend in Jenks at the city-owned fields.

One of the first things people going to the games will notice, is there will be a separate entrance and exit, so players and fans aren't coming and going through the same gate.

Getting back on the field means 11-year-old Parker McFarland is one step closer to reaching his dream of one day playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's got two simple reasons for his love of the game.

"You get to play with your friends, and you get to have fun on the field,” Parker said.

His dad, Josh, is also his coach for their competitive youth team, the "A's."

"I've told them that, even if you agree or disagree, we've gotta follow the rules,” Josh said.

Those new rules will require fans sit along the outfield fences, in six feet increments from other families. They will need to bring their own chairs and cannot sit in the bleachers. Northeast Oklahoma USSSA Baseball is recommending all fans wear masks. Hand sanitizer will be provided in all dugouts for the players. The defensive team will provide the baseball and at the end of each inning, Assistant State Director Lynn Gibson said the ball will either be sanitized or replaced with a new ball.

"That was the biggest issue on trying to figure out how to deal with the baseball,” Gibson said.

Gibson said there are 83 teams signed up for the tournament starting Friday, the highest she's ever seen. She said a normal weekend would have about 60 teams.

"I think it's because everyone's ready to get back to some normalcy. Sports is a big part of Oklahoma. All sports. And I think the kids are ready to get out, be around their friends,” Gibson said.

Parker plans to pitch and play outfield in just a few days.

“I look forward to being able to play baseball again,” Parker said.

"We're thankful for the opportunity to play baseball in any situation. So, we would play in ice, snow, whatever,” Josh said. “We're ready to play.”

One more change is a tradition being put on hold for now: no sunflower seeds are allowed inside the complex.