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Ceres youth sports leagues play waiting game amid pandemic
• Baseball, softball signups extended to March 8
The Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization is anticipating a start date of April 24 for the 2021 season. - photo by Courier file photo

The Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization is anticipating a start date of April 24 for the 2021 season.

The cutoff date for player signups has been extended to March 8.

“We have over 400 players right now,” Registrar Nikole Ferrel said. “We’re hoping to add at least 100 more players.”

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the registration process is being completed online at

Fees will be collected at a later date.

Cost is $135 per player.

New players must provide a copy of their birth certificate on or before team placement. Birth certificates can be emailed to Nikole Ferrel (

“We’ll be setting dates for parents to come in and pay the registration fees,” she said.

There are six divisions for baseball, 5&under (co-ed t-ball), 7&under, 8&under, 10&under, 12-and-under and 15-and-under.

There are five divisions for softball: 6&under (t-ball), 8&under, 10-and-under, 13-and-under and 18-and-under.

Games are played at the George Costa Ball Field Complex.

An exact date of return to competition has yet to be finalized due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everybody is excited and on board to help get the kids back on the field,” Ferrel said. “We don’t know what (COVID) protocols we’ll have to follow. We’ll get new updates this week.”

Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-pandemic.

Only low-contact, outdoor sports such as cross country, golf, swim, tennis and track and field are currently being permitted in Stanislaus County as regional stay-at-home orders for the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and the Bay Area were lifted by Gov. Newsom on Jan. 25.

“We have a meeting with the city this week to talk more about plans for the 2021 season,” Ferrel said. “We’re anticipating a start date of April 24.”


The Ceres Youth Soccer Organization hopes to start registering players as early as this month for the 2021 recreational season.

“Right now, we’re on a standby,” President Lou Toste said. “The state, county and city control this whole thing. As soon as we get permission, we’ll start doing our registration.”

CYSO’s 2021 campaign is supposed to kick off during the third week of August. But the start of the season hinges on how prevalent COVID-19 is this fall.

“We’re optimistic kids will have sports and activities again soon,” said Matt Lohr, recreation manager for the city of Ceres. “It’s a work in progress.”

About 900 boys and girls, aged 4-16, signed up to play soccer in Ceres in 2019 according to Toste.

“I’m hoping we get to play this year,” Toste said.

Soccer games are played on Saturdays at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.

The complex has a total of nine fields.

If CYSO stages a season this year, coronavirus safety guidelines recommended by state and local health officials will be followed.

“We’ll be prepared,” Toste said. “Our goal is to keep the kids, families and everybody safe. I wouldn’t want to see any kid get COVID because they played soccer.”

CYSO was forced to cancel its recreational season for the first time in its 38-year history last fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sports across the state of California have been put on hold to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released guidelines on Dec. 14 for youth and high school sports.

Youth and prep sports are classified by their level of contact and transmission risk. This classification applies to competition or training/practice with others. It does not apply to individual conditioning or exercise.

CDPH’s guidelines include allowable competitions under the state’s color-tiered reopening plan. Most counties in California, including Stanislaus, remain in the most-restrictive purple tier. 

Only low-contact, outdoor sports such as cross country, golf, swim, tennis and track and field are currently being permitted as regional stay-at-home orders were lifted by Governor Newsom on Jan. 25.

Outdoor moderate-contact sports baseball, softball and cheer fall under the red tier.

Popular outdoor high-contact sports such as football, soccer and water polo, along with indoor low-contact sports like volleyball, fall under the orange tier. 

Indoor moderate- and high-contact sports — basketball, wrestling, martial arts — are in the yellow tier.  

Under CDPH’s current guidelines, high-contact sports like football and basketball appear to be long shots to take place this academic school year.

The California Interscholastic Federation has been lobbying for CDPH to relax its guidelines and allow all sports in the purple and red tiers. 

“CYSO could have games again if we’re in the orange tier,” Lohr said. “But they’d have to wear masks and there would be no spectators. We’ll work with our youth organizations to make sure they follow state and federal guidelines.”

CYSO is currently looking to add members to its board.

Background checks will be conducted.

For more information, contact Toste at 209-765-1185.

“We’re going to need to fill five more positions,” he said. “We just need help.”