Bennington Little League cancels 2020 season

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BENNINGTON — The Bennington Little League was holding out hope of having a season this summer.

But on Wednesday night, the league announced it was officially canceling the 2020 season.

"The board and I have been waiting patiently hoping for a positive turn in the current national crisis. Unfortunately, as of last Friday, the state of Vermont extended its state of emergency until June 15. We had predetermined that our cut-off would be June 1 to allow ample time to plan and implement a season," according to a letter posted to the Bennington Little League Facebook page.

Since the league was formed in 1958, it had run every single summer — 62 years — but the fields on Park Street will be silent in 2020.

Bennington Little League President Geoff Metcalfe knew this day might come.

"The writing was on the wall. It's terrible," Metcalfe said.

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Although he is disappointed with the outcome, Metcalfe acknowledged this decision is necessary.

"The last thing we want to do is put the kids in harm's way," Metcalfe said.

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Metcalfe mentioned that the professional baseball players aren't playing right now either, as the coronavirus continues to have a major impact on youth sports all the way up to the professional level.

The Bennington Little League set the June 1 deadline for multiple reasons. If a season were to start later, it had the potential to interfere with fall sports. The board also thought a season that started later than that date would not be fair to the kids.

Metcalfe has ideas in place for the older players, the 12-year-olds, who would have been playing their final season of Little League this season.

Typically, there is an end-of-year celebration for those who have "graduated" from the league. This includes a cook-out and a home-run derby.

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"We're going to try and step it up a notch. The kids deserve it," Metcalfe said.

Those who have already paid the registration fees for this year can expect a refund, according to the letter.

"It is the board's intent to refund all registration fees in full. Donations are more than welcome, of course, as we still have operation expenses to cover, but we know many families could use the money in these uncertain times," it read.

Metcalfe mentioned the possibility of playing baseball later in the summer, depending on if and when the state allows them to do so.

"It allows us to keep some hope alive," Metcalfe said.


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