Port Angeles Lefties hope to play ball

Bellingham Bells cancel season due to outbreak

Port Angeles Lefties hope to play ball

PORT ANGELES — Eleven out of the 12 teams in the West Coast League are continuing to prepare for a 2020 summer season, including the Port Angeles Lefties.

The WCL announced last week the league still hopes to have a season despite the COVID-19 outbreak that has shut down sports all spring.

On Friday, the Bellingham Bells announced they would not play this season as the mayor of Bellingham canceled all activities at city facilities through the end of August. That includes Joe Martin Field, the home of the Bells.

“We’re all sorry to hear about the Bells,” WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer said. “They’re among our league’s real jewels, and we look forward to seeing them on the field again in 2021. Our focus, as always, is on providing a safe and entertaining experience for our fans and players.”

“We’ve still got high hopes for baseball everywhere else in our league, and everyone’s working hard toward that goal,” Neyer said.

Lefties owner Matt Acker said much will hinge on the western states governors’ decisions on May 4.

“We’re still hoping,” Acker said. “Our stance is we’re waiting for the western governors the make a decision.

He said the WCL might decide on holding a season as early as May 5.

However, Acker said he doesn’t think playing a full 60-game season is feasible, especially after Bellingham canceled its season.

“I’d be against it,” he said.

A similar collegiate wood bat league, the Cape Cod League, announced last week it is shutting down for the summer.

Acker said a major difference between the Cape Cod League and the West Coast League is that the CCL is a nonprofit, so it made sense for them to shut down for the year. That league is also based in Massachusetts, which has seen one of the most severe COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation.

For now, Acker said the Lefties are keeping in touch with players to keep them as well informed as possible. Most of the players got in little or no playing time this season at their various schools because of the virus outbreak.

“They want to play, we want them to play,” Acker said. “At the same time, you want to make sure you’re doing right by people.”

The WCL will continue to monitor public health announcements and comply with federal, provincial, state and local guideliness and regulations in both the United States and Canada, while preparing for the upcoming season, which is scheduled to begin June 5.

The WCL is a wood bat league featuring elite college players looking to hone their skills during the summer and to get attention from pro scouts. In 2019, 317 WCL alums appeared or were active in professional baseball, including 45 in Major League Baseball.

The Lefties have played in the WCL since 2017 against teams from Victoria, B.C., Kelowna, B.C., Bellingham, Walla Walla, Yakima, Wenatchee, Longview, Ridgefield, Portland, Ore., Corvallis, Ore., and Bend, Ore.

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