The Kings County Baseball League (KCBL) will begin later this week.
It will look different due to restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic, but the game will go on.
“The guys just want to play ball,” president Lefty Dunn said Monday. “They just want to get out and have some fun.”
There are seven teams playing this season. They are the defending champion Stratford Athletics, Morell Chevies, Peakes Bombers, Cardigan Clippers, Charlottetown Tigers, Charlottetown Jays and the P.E.I. Youth Selects. The Northside Brewers have taken a one year of leave of absence.
The league normally starts during the May long weekend, so the season has been reduced from a 20- or 24-game schedule to 12 games per team.
Dunn believes the KCBL is the longest running league in the province at more than 30 years and ensuring it continued was important to the players.
“They just want to keep that streak going,” he said.
The first games of the season will be Friday night at Memorial Field in Charlottetown when the Chevies and Selects meet for a doubleheader beginning at 6:30 p.m.
One of the biggest changes this season will be the home-plate umpire calling balls and strikes from behind the pitcher for social distancing reasons.
There will also be limited fan access to the diamonds. Currently there are 50 people allowed at the field, but with each team normally having about a dozen players per game, combined with the two umpires, there would only be a handful of places remaining for fans.
The playoffs are where the league saw its biggest crowds, but Dunn said there might be more interest for regular-season games this year.
“With COVID, and no sports the last two or three months, there might be a lot of people want to come out and watch,” he said. “You just don’t know.”
If more than 50 people are at a field, fans will be able to watch the games from their vehicles.
With the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League being cancelled this season, more of the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders’ players are being allowed to play in the intermediate league. The KCBL is allowing each team to carry three of the Islanders this year, compared to two in previous years.
A look at the first games of the season this weekend in the Kings County Baseball League.
P.E.I. Youth Selects vs. Morell Chevies, at Memorial Field, doubleheader, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Stratford Athletics at Peakes Bombers, 2 p.m.
Cardigan Clippers at Charlottetown Tigers, Memorial Field, 6 p.m.