Poplarville Athletic Association ends fall baseball season without a hitch

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Poplarville Athletic Association’s fall baseball season came to an end last week after offering local athletes the chance to play competitive baseball games for over a month.

This was the first time PAA hosted a fall ball season.

There were only three teams in the league, with most of the players ranging from ages nine through twelve.

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PAA Secretary Martin Walker said there were only 30-35 kids who participated in the league, and there weren’t enough players in the younger age groups to form teams.

This meant refunds had to be given out to parents who had signed their younger kids up, although there were two 8-year-olds who played in the fall ball league.

Normal COVID-19 protocols were in place.

Parents were asked to bring their own chairs and social distance along the fence, while normal baseball routines like shaking hands after the game were dropped in order to limit spread.

There were also no issues with the coronavirus itself.

Walker said there were a couple games that had to be cancelled, but that was due to weather concerns not positive COVID-19 tests.

Finding athletes to take part in the league was a challenge. Walker said the organization reached out to Lumberton and McNeill to see if they were having a fall ball season, and if not, would their athletes want to join the PAA’s league.

However, those connections led to only a few new athletes joining up.

Walker said there were several community members asking for the PAA to host a fall ball league over the past couple of years, and even though there was an ongoing pandemic, the PAA pushed through to host a successful season.

“The pandemic didn’t help out, but for the last two years we’ve had more and more parents each year asking if we’re going to do fall ball, so there was some pressure from the parents to get it going.”

“It’s another option for kids to be out there having fun with friends,” Walker said.

Given the circumstances, there could’ve been a variety of factors that would’ve messed up PAA’s season.

Walker said although there were some hiccups early on, the overall success of the month long competition bodes well for the PAA’s future.

“The ones that were playing were definitely excited. We had a fair amount of parents that were still concerned about the issues going on right now, but as far as the ones getting out there they were having fun.”

“It was one of the smoothest seasons we’ve probably had for any sport. It was nice and the kids on the team I was coaching didn’t want to end the games. They wanted to keep going,” Walker said.

The organization will only have a couple weeks off before registration will begin once again, this time for spring baseball and spring softball.

Usually people would be able to sign up for the spring competitions in January, but Walker said because of the high COVID-19 case numbers right now registration may not take place until February.

“Those will be the next sports on the table and football will come after that,” Walker said.