The Rockingham County Baseball League has been around since 1924.

And the current commissioner certainly hopes the RCBL will be around this coming season, despite the challenges of the novel coronavirus.

"We still want to get the season in," commissioner Randy Atkins told the Daily News-Record on Wednesday. "Our intention is to get the season in. I am not saying we won't have to delay it a week or two. We have a board of directors ... and a voting representative for each team. It has been pretty unanimous so far we don't want to bag the season. We want to play."

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday called off public schools for the rest of the academic year and has placed a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

"Obviously, if the Governor says we (still) can't have a group of more than 10 that is going to be an issue," Atkins said.

For now, the eight-team league is slated to begin May 22 with four games: the Grottoes Cardinals at the Clover Hill Bucks; the Bridgewater Reds at the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks; the Broadway Bruins at the New Market Shockers; and the Elkton Blue Sox at the Montezuma Braves.

Atkins said the board of directors will meet April 13 to hold more discussions about the upcoming schedule. He noted that is not a drop-dead date for making a final call on the 2020 season.

"I don't think we will bag the season on April 13 - not at all," Atkins said. That meeting could be in person or online, he noted.

The board met in February but did not meet this month due to COVID-19 concerns.

Atkins noted the RCBL has advantages over Valley League Baseball, which may have to deal with guidance from Major League Baseball and the NCAA in an attempt to play this summer.

The Valley League relies on host families for many of its players - and that could be an problem with coronavirus concerns.

"We don't have that. Most of our players live within the area so that is not an issue," Atkins said.

And if the RCBL does play, Atkins feels like there will not be a shortage of players - mainly since local college players had their season cut short.

"I think we are going to have a bigger opportunity this year. It looks like high schools are not going to get to play," he said.

Atkins, a graduate of Montevideo High, became the commissioner prior to the 2019 season. He took over for Turner Ashby graduate Mike Bocock, who had been at the helm from 2015-18. Several current RCBL managers could not be reached for comment.

Clover Hill was a league-best 24-4 in regular-season games last year and defeated Bridgewater four games to two for the league title. Tyler Bocock, who fanned 12 in the deciding game for Clover Hill, was the RCBL finals MVP.

(1) comment

newshound

Wishful thinking maybe, but we all can hope for some sort of light at end of the tunnel, battling an unseen enemy that has affected so many.

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