A night at the ballpark does a soul good

By Chris Yow

The sights and sounds of baseball being played live and in-person maybe felt like a pipe dream a month ago, but the Maury County Park complex on Monday night was a field of dreams.

Mitts popped, bats clanked, cleats clacked, and despite the glaring omission of the aroma of popcorn in the air, the Opening Night ceremony for Columbia American Little League (CALL) was exactly what a sports-starved soul needed.

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles tossed a strike to officially open the league, and six games took place to start the season. Conversations with parents, players, coaches and league administrators seemed to gravitate to the excitement of being able to get out of their homes and find a little normal in the world.

“We are very excited,” league president Jon McDonald told SM-Tn Sports in a Facebook Live broadcast prior to the event. “The kids are eager to get back out there, and the parents are too.”

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles throws out the first pitch of the 2020 Columbia American Little League season. (Photo by Ric Beu for SM-Tn Sports)

Jack Beck, a player for one of the league’s 12U year old teams, agreed.

“I am just excited to play baseball again,” he said. “I’ve been practicing at home with hitting and fielding, but I am really glad to be playing a game (Monday).”

There will likely be no postseason games played this season, so Beck said he hopes to just improve his game this season.

“I just want to get better this year, so I can try out for middle school next year,” he said.

Despite storm damage and leaving the fields essentially unkept for the last six months, volunteers were able to work over the last week to get them into playing shape for opening night.

“We’ve got great people; great board, great volunteers,” McDonald said said. “That’s what’s great about Columbia.”

Chris Yow is the multimedia director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by email at sports@sm-tnsports.com or on Twitter at @ChrisYow14.

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