Highland Ball Families,
The Highland Ball Board has been monitoring the developments as it relates to youth sports in Minnesota and working to outline a plan to begin our 2020 season amid the unique circumstances dictated by playing baseball and softball in a Covid-19 environment. Our purpose is to utilize the guidance from various state and local authorities, along with our own priorities and your feedback, to provide opportunities for kids within the Highland Ball community to play ball while remaining safe. We are considering a couple different options, which are described below. Whether we play games or focus on development opportunities for the summer, the Board is focused on providing a safe environment for the Highland Ball community. Included in this communication is our Highland Ball COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, which outlines the strategy and tactics to provide a safe and healthy environment for all our players, coaches, parents, spectators, and workers at all of our facilities. Also included are guidelines prepared by the principal organizing bodies for youth baseball and softball in the State of Minnesota – Metro Baseball League (MBL), MN Youth Athletic Services (MYAS), and MN Softball (MNS). These guidelines have been proposed to the MN Dept. of Health. Please review the plan and guidelines to understand the steps we are taking and will ask of you to ensure this season is as safe as possible.
Here are the two options under consideration:
Plan A – If Phase 3 of the Governor’s plan for youth sports (which allows games to be played) is approved to begin on or around June 15, and is communicated by Governor by June 3:
Plan B - If the Governor does not provide clearance by June 3 to play games by June 15 or sooner, or if the Board determines there is a strong sentiment within the Highland Ball community to focus on development opportunities instead of a standard in-house season based on feedback from this registration:
We are opening up an opt-in/opt-out registration on the Highland Ball website [https://highlandball.sportngin.com/register/form/799461075], asking you to communicate your intention to participate in league activities this summer and your preference for the activities to be offered. We understand there may be some players who choose not to participate this season, so the opt-in/op-out registration is necessary for us to form teams or adjust teams that were previously formed, or to organize a development program that suits the needs of various age levels. Within the registration, you will be given four options for each of your players:
Opt-in for either Plan A or Plan B - Let's play ball in any form available. "We are ready to go!"
Opt-in for Plan A only - We want to practice with the intent to play competitive games and are less interested in a modified season.
Opt-in for Plan B only - We are more comfortable with a modified season, focused on offering kids opportunities to play some ball in smaller group settings.
Opt-out - We would like to take the summer off from organized baseball and softball activities
Families that opt-out will be given a partial refund of registration fees (after accounting for costs already incurred) and a full refund of volunteer fees.
In-house, Plus, Tri-county, and Travel teams are included in the Opt-in/Opt-out registration. With tournaments being cancelled/rescheduled and Travel leagues dependent on additional variables outside of our control, we will manage the activities of Plus, Tri-county, and Travel teams at each age level with support from the Plus/Travel Committee.
Please review the Highland Ball COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and utilize the Opt-in/Opt-out registration to communicate the level of activity that you and your players are comfortable with. The registration should take no more than a couple minutes. With the information we learn from your feedback, we will move forward accordingly. Please respond by Thursday, 5/28/20.
Thank you for your patience as we have worked to get to this point. Thank you for your voice to help us determine the best path forward.
HIGHLAND BALL FORD SITE LAND ACQUISITION FROM RYAN CO
On May 7, Ryan Companies completed the transfer of the former Ford Field land on which the East and West Fields, the snack bar, and the batting cages behind the West Field are situated to the Friends of Highland Ball. Friends of Highland Ball is an entity created by Highland Ball to hold the land that will be used by the Highland Ball organization.
This momentous event is more then a decade in the making and secures the future of baseball and softball at the site for generations to come. Many volunteers worked for countless hours to make this vision a reality. Later this summer, Highland Ball will share its plans for the site and recognize the volunteers and community members who brought this dream to fruition.
Norder Field, located on the southern half of the ballpark and named in honor of the Larry Norder and family for their generosity to Highland Ball, was not part of the land transfer from Ryan Companies. The field will be demolished as part of the Montreal Avenue extension.
Please see the attached joint press release from Ryan Companies and Highland Ball for more information.
In lieu of being able to get together to practice, perhaps showing your Highland Ball spirit by looking at our new spirit wear stores will get you in the mood for a game of catch!
Highland Ball has a new vendor this year (CA Gear), and we've curated an expansive selection of apparel and gear for players and fans. Working from input over the years, we tried to find items that would be appropriate for a game or practice and just as comfortable on Saturday afternoon at the grocery store. We have also created separate online stores for softball and baseball to better suit the preferences of the two great programs that make up Highland Ball. For instance, the Highland logos contain a baseball or softball depending on which store you are in. The move to CA Gear also provides value to the League, as we will receive 10% of the proceeds from all sales.
Another benefit of our new partnership is that the online stores will be open throughout the season.
Please select the direct ship option and allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Previous orders designated for pick-up will be distributed in a manner and at a time to be determined.
HIGHLAND BALL ON KARE 11 SPORTS
Our own Scott Andressed was interviewed on by KARE 11 for a segmeant on the land transfer from Ryan Co to Friends of Highland Ball.
It can be found HERE:
While the League and our community are locked down, Highland Ball wants to be a resource for our players and parents. The boys and girls still need to get outside and it's a great time to work on agility and skill development to get ready for the season (whenever it might start). Each week, we will post drills that can be done alone or with a partner, and we will have Highland ballplayers demonstrating some of those drills.
To help keep our Highland Ball community connected in this time of social distancing, we encourage players to submit photos of themselves doing the drills that have been posted. We will do our best to post all of the photos to our website, and the League will award a prize for the best photo each week. The photos can be submitted to the League email at email@example.com.
Here is a brief introduction from Vice President of Softball, Steve Penz: https://youtu.be/rUGHWEzThw8
Here are the drills for the weeks of March 23 and April 1, with select demonstrations by Nolan Andresen (11U Baseball), Forrest Wright (11U Baseball) and Anna Penz (12U Softball):
Congrats to Coach Frommeyer for winning with this photo in our player development program!
We will provide a credit to the Highland Ball Gear store of your choice.
Coach Frommeyer demonstrates proper use of PPE
Photo of the Week June 23 - June 30
MBT USA bat stamp rules: 9U-14U: All bats must have the new USA stamp (unless using a -3 BBCOR bat). 15’s can use a BBCOR bat or wood bat.
9-U, 10-U, 11-U,
Bats must be 2 1/4" with unlimited weight differential or bats 2 5/8" and have a -11 differential or less (i.e. 31 inches in length – 20.0 oz.)
14-U & 15A
Bats must be 2 5/8" with a -5 or less differential
Bats must be 2 5/8” with a -3 or less differential
There's an App for that!
Contact us at HighlandBall@gmail.com. E-mails will be returned in 2-3 business days. If you need to reach someone with urgency, please contact a league commissioner directly.
Little League & Babe Ruth Baseball, Ford Fields: Cleveland Avenue S. and W. Montreal
Little League Softball, Nova: 1168 W. Montreal
Hi-Mac Developmental, Groveland: West of Groveland Rec Center, St. Clair and Cleveland