If there is a 2020 season, the Hays Larks will be ready to play.
The upcoming season for the local summer-collegiate baseball team is in doubt due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"We’ve got to prepare that there will be a season and do everything we normally do to get ready for it," said longtime Larks manager Frank Leo. "We’re kind of in limbo. We’re going to proceed like there will be a season, but obviously it’s out of our hands. It depends on if we get this virus calmed down."
Hays is set to join the Rocky Mountain Baseball League in 2020 after spending a year in the Kansas Collegiate League Baseball. The Larks went 34-12 last summer and qualified again for the NBC World Series. Hays played in the KCLB after the breakup of the Jayhawk League following the 2018 season. The RMBL has eight Colorado teams, plus Hays.
The Larks are set to open the season on June 3. Any decision on playing this summer, including playing with a shortened schedule, will come from the RMBL.
"I’m all for getting something in," Leo said. "If we get a month in, we get a month in, instead of sitting idle for an entire year."
Also in limbo is the Larks First Pitch Dinner scheduled for April 20 at Thirsty’s Bew Pub and Grill. However, Thirsty’s is closed temporarily due to the virus.
"We’re going to give it another couple weeks, see if we have to go to another date, push it back a little bit," Leo said.
The Larks youth baseball camp in early June also is in jeopardy.
"We have our dates set but if we don’t have our players in to help with the camp, and if things are still in limbo about how many people can meet at a time, it’s kind of a tough call what to do with that camp," Leo said.
Leo knows the Larks are just a small piece of the bigger puzzle, and the health and safety of players and fans is what’s important.
"No matter what happens with baseball, we’ve got to get this thing under control," Leo said. "If there is still some concern nationwide, I don’t see anybody being able to do anything this summer.
"We’re going to do what we can do," he added. "We’re preparing to have a season. If they allow us to go, we’re ready to go. It is a big part of the summer for a lot of people."