FORT COLLINS, Colo. — It’s been a while since softball and baseball players have taken batting practice, but that changed this week in Fort Collins.
"It’s like the best feeling ever after being cooped up at home," said softball player Tatum Aragon.
High school-aged players affiliated with a traveling team practiced for the first time in a long time this week at Triple Crown Sports complex. After each practice, coaches spray baseballs and dugouts with disinfectant.
Founder David King said players maintain social distancing at all times by breaking up teams into three groups of five players. King believes practicing social distancing at practice will help prepare the players when it's game time.
"There were small instances where it was like, 'Hey you’re getting too close to 6 feet from each other', now it’s like we need to stay as far away as possible," said softball player Bailey Carlson.
King believes he has a way to play ball by June 1 while keeping the players and fans safe. That plan includes requiring masks to be worn for all batters, defensive infielders and the umpire.
"I think there’s 14 to 16 instances in a game that I’ve tracked one or two players come together and if they are masked, we are good," King said.
Dugouts will be extended to limit the number of players in close proximity. Balls will be swapped out at the end of each inning.
King sent his proposal to the governor's office. In a statement, a spokesperson for the governor said, "We will work with our public health experts to determine if it can be done safely."