The Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization had to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Players returned to the diamond this spring as games were staged at the George Costa Ball Field Complex.
“It’s been a year since we’ve heard laughter, joy, cheers, and strike three calls at CYB,” President Chuck Weeks wrote in a post on Facebook leading up to the start of the season. “The Board and myself would like to thank every single individual who stepped up and exercised patience and hard work to navigate through uncharted waters. Everyone has gone above and beyond my expectations in sacrificing their time and effort into getting to the finish line and battling through an unprecedented time in history. So hope we are one step closer to normalcy and through youth sports we give a chance to the kids to have fun in a safe place.”
The 2021 recreational season got underway on April 24 with coronavirus safety measures in place and concluded in May with all-star games.
“We were expecting fewer kids to sign up because the pandemic was still going on,” said Nikole Ferrel, the organization’s registrar. “If we would have extended the signups, we could have had more. We had 75-100 kids on the waitlist.”
"It was pretty stressful trying to make sure we had a season. It wasn’t easy. Policies were changing every week. We were happy we had and finished a season.”Nikole Ferrel
“We have never dealt with stuff like this before,” she added. “It was pretty stressful trying to make sure we had a season. It wasn’t easy. Policies were changing every week. We were happy we had and finished a season. We’re thankful for the coaches that volunteered.”
A total of 513 players participated this year.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the registration process was completed online at www.ceresyouthbaseball.com.
Fees were collected at Costa Fields.
Cost was $135 per player.
All players were required to have a parent/guardian sign a COVID-19 Return to Play Waiver.
“The (California Department of Public Health) mandates changed the week we started,” Ferrel said. “The face-mask policy stayed in place the whole season for spectators and coaches. The players only had to wear them in the dugout.”
“It was a little different,” she added. “The bleachers were blocked off at the beginning of the season. Parents sat on the sidelines and around the outfield fence line. The snack bar was still open. We had sanitizing stands throughout the park. We really encouraged people to stay home if they were sick.”
There were six divisions for baseball, 5&under (co-ed t-ball), 7&under, 8&under, 10&under, 12-and-under and 15-and-under.
There were four divisions for softball: 6&under (t-ball), 8&under, 10-and-under, 13-and-under. The 18-and-under division didn’t have a season due to a lack of numbers.
Each team played 10 games.
All-star contests were held for four of the six baseball divisions (15s, 12s, 10s and 8s) and both softball divisions (10s and 12s).
“We didn’t do playoffs,” Ferrel said. “We were just happy to be back out there on the field. The main goal was to have a season. The kids were really excited to be around each other. They were smiling and having fun. They did a good job following the new policies. The parents were happy to have their kids playing and some normalcy in their lives. Everything went pretty smooth.”