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Local youth sports organizations dealing with outbreak

Youth sports leagues around the county are struggling with how they’ll make up for lost time due to their seasons being suspended because of COVID-19.

The Poplarville Athletic Association and Picayune Youth Athletic Association are scrambling trying to come up with contingency plans now that their seasons are on hold.

Both organizations were starting up their softball and baseball programs when school closures were announced across the county.

Parks were then closed and the two organizations had no choice but to pump the brakes on their spring seasons.

“We have the same schedule with what the schools are doing. When we found out they were shutting down schools we shut down too,” Martin Walker, League Secretary of the PAA, said.

PYAA had to shut down operations as well.

Suspending the season not only prevents the athletes and their parents from enjoying the competitive experience, but it also affects the organizations financially.

Ronnie Reynolds is the President of PYAA Baseball and he said the league had to cancel prior to their opening day.

While registration fees had already been collected, there was another source of income the organization would lose out on.

“We have 338 kids in the organization and everybody is going to play, so the concession stand would be busy. We would be recouping some (money spent) if not more,” Reynolds said.

Jeremy Guidry runs the softball portion of PYAA and said the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak is affecting the organization’s planning.

Usually games would be scheduled with plenty of time in advance, but because of all the unknowns surrounding the pandemic Guidry said he’s not sure what the future holds.

“It’s frustrating because people call and I don’t have answers. If people are willing to play then we’ll play in the summer. We’ll do whatever people are willing to do,” Guidry said.

Both representatives said the hope is to be able to play the same amount of games originally scheduled for the spring.

The issue is when to play the games.

PAA also has football programs that are active during the fall, so there is a time crunch to get everything done prior to the start of football.

“The worst case scenario is to back up the (baseball and softball) seasons where it would end before practices for football begin. Then any athletes who would want to play both sides could do that,” Walker said.

Guidry said the response had been positive so far from athletes and parents with the softball season underway.

When things start returning to normal Guidry said athletes will be back on the field and parents would be in the stands, it’s just a matter of time.

“It’s frustrating because we had things going in the right direction and then this thing took the wind out of our sails. I just want to make sure that nobody has been forgotten about and we’re not giving up on anything,” Guidry said.