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'It is a huge part of our lives' | Local softball league excited to safely get back to the diamond

As Northern Virginia enters Phase 2 of reopening, many local youth programs are finding safe ways to practice as a team.

ANNANDALE, Va. — While Major League Baseball is still on hold, some local baseball and softball programs will play ball again in Northern Virginia. 

There are new measures in place to keep kids safe as they get back to the diamond.

For the first time in months, Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association will be able to practice together as a team out on the field.

“They love this sport and they love being out there together. If anything, this helps people recognize what we have been missing the last several months and how much of our lives it is, because it is a huge part of our lives, said Vice President of Travel Jesse Ellis.

These teams typically start spring training in late March, but when the coronavirus hit, all practices came to a stop. 

During that time, several of the advanced travel players made online videos of drills that can be done from home. 

"The purpose was to share them with younger players on the recreational house side of our organization. The house players lost their entire season, so we hoped these would help them make some connections and feel engaged with softball," said Ellis.

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Under Phase 2 of reopening, players can practice together as a team again with new safety measures in place.

Coaches have been doing daily symptom assessments and asking players to social distance as much as possible. Players are also bringing their own equipment to limit contact.

Coaches have also made it clear that athletes won’t be penalized if they do not feel comfortable coming back to practice yet.

Fairfax County allows tournaments and game play under Phase 2 reopening.

Tournaments typically run through July and some have been rescheduled for this August. Ellis said it is up to the team whether or not they feel comfortable attending.

To learn more about Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association, click here.

Credit: Nicole DiAntonio

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