Major youth sports organizations in the north Perimeter area have shifted from the start of baseball season to ending play due to coronavirus concerns.
Dunwoody Senior Baseball; Brookhaven-based Murphey Candler Baseball and Murphey Candler Girls Softball; the Buckhead-based Northside Youth Organization; and Sandy Springs Youth Sports have all suspended play as of March 13.
DSB, NYO and SSYS were still planning on playing earlier this week. Everything changed with a wave of massive shutdowns announced March 12, ranging from the cancelation of the Final Four college basketball championship to closures of local school districts.
NYO Executive Director Josh Burr said his board had already decided earlier this week to cancel the opening day parade and game scheduled for March 14 at Chastain Park, but the suspension of the season was still in debate.
“There’s still people [saying], ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this.’ There’s still people that couldn’t believe we didn’t do it a week ago,” Burr said.
Dunwoody Senior Baseball
All DSB play at Brook Run Park has been suspended “until further notice,” according to DSB President Jerry Weiner.
The DSB had its middle-school league underway with 43 teams and about 600 players.
“We are sensitive to the fact we get large crowds,” Weiner said. “We are very sorry we have to do this but believe it is the prudent thing to do for community health and safety.”
Murphey Candler leagues
Play for Murphey Candler Baseball and Murphey Candler Girls Softball was suspended by the city of Brookhaven’s March 12 decision to close its Blackburn and Murphey Candler parks to any youth and adult athletic league play. There is no definite reopening date.
“It’s unfortunate that this virus has affected our community and many others, but it is the right decision,” said Jim Montembeau, president of Murphy Candler Baseball. “By doing this now, we have a better chance of controlling the spread of the virus, which hopefully enables us to reopen Murphey Candler in a few weeks. We have a lot of unhappy kids right now, but they are virus-free and that’s what’s important. The city and MCB will reassess everything in a few weeks and hopefully we will be playing ball again soon.”
Murphey Candler Girls Softball President Keith Parkes said the league has 383 girls playing this season.
“We’re definitely sad the girls will have to miss a portion of the season, but overall the peace of mind and well being of the families is most important,” he said.
Northside Youth Organization
NYO’s activities will be suspended until March 27 “at the earliest,” Burr said.
“There is very little about this situation that we can predict, except for the fact that social distancing is a crucial mitigation strategy to keeping communities safe and healthy,” NYO said in an email to the families of the roughly 5,500 children served by the organization.
The email said that the decision is not based on any positive coronavirus tests with the NYO community, but rather “purely out of abundance of caution.”
All NYO facilities in the north Perimeter suburbs will be closed to NYO use, including fields, gyms and open cages.
Sandy Springs Youth Sports
SSYS programs are suspended “indefinitely,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
All activities, “both scheduled and informal,” at SSYS’s Morgan Falls Park facility are canceled. No offsite team activities, such as at private homes or independent facilities, are allowed.
“This decision is not taken lightly, as we know how much our families depend on, and enjoy, the activity at our park,” SSYS said in the Facebook post. “However, the safety of our families is paramount – and we are making this decision with that safety mandate in mind.”
SSYS was already into its baseball season play. Board president Ken Bowman previously said the teams were taking such precautions as not sharing helmets and prohibiting high-fives between players.
–John Ruch, Dyana Bagby and Hannah Greco
Update: This story has been updated with information about Murphey Candler Girls Softball.