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Youth baseball, softball cancelled
• COVID safety concerns force cancellation of rec. season
Costa Fields
Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball recreational league games will not be played at the George Costa Complex this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. - photo by Dale Butler

The Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization planned to start its 2020 campaign on July 13 with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

CYBS officials announced the cancellation of the recreational season in a press release posted on Facebook last Friday.

“With the new information that was sent out by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, the executive board and myself felt it was the best decision to cancel the season for the safety of the kids, coaches and community,” Interim President Chuck Weeks said. “We always try to be compliant with city, state and health agencies. I’m hoping next year, we can come back stronger.”

The more than 800 players that signed up to play this year will receive partial refunds or vouchers that can be used to help cover the cost of registration next season.

“I’m hand writing every single one of them,” League Registrar Brenda Linville said. “You’re looking at a lot of money.”

“Even though we canceled, they still get their uniforms,” said Weeks, whose 10-year-old son will not get to play baseball this year. “It’s an unfortunate situation. I completely understand if some people are upset. I’m a parent and coach. I’ve lived in Ceres for 43 years. I played at Costa Fields. I know what that ballpark means to the kids and community. I know what the kids get from being there.”

CYBS had already been forced to change the format of its recreational league due to a shortage of coaches and players.

More than 300 combined requests for refunds/vouchers had been submitted prior to cancellation.

All players were required to have a parent or guardian sign a COVID-19 Return to Play Waiver before attending their first practice two weeks ago.

“Because of a shortage of coaches and players, the divisions we had to close were 5-6 girls, 14-18 girls and 8 boys,” Linville said. 

“It was going to be an unconventional season,” Weeks said. “We had a modified schedule in place. We did everything we could to make the park safe. All of this has been a learning experience. I think we’ll bounce back next year.”