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Youth sports return to Gorham

By Nathan Tsukroff

GORHAM – After a year lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth sports is returning to Gorham for the spring with the start of the baseball and softball season.

Gorham Youth Baseball and Softball Association, also known as Gorham Little League since it is part of the Little League program, conducted sign up ins February and March for the boys’ and girls’ teams after missing the 2020 season.

Last year, “We did a few drills and skills Saturday, and couple of days during the week,” association President Josh Brenner said. This spring, “it’s going to be a regular traditional season, and we’re really excited about that,” he said. “The only thing we’re doing a little bit different this year is we’re starting two weeks late, so our first games are going to be on May 8.”

Baseball and softball games return to Gorham starting May 8, with games at Little Falls Recreation and Shaw Park. (Photo courtesy of GYBSA)

The later start is to ensure Gorham Little League is up to date on pandemic requirements from the State of Maine and and Town of Gorham, such as capacity limits. Under recent state guidelines, outdoor events can now be at 75% capacity, with full capacity allowed as of May 24. “Although, what we are going to be instructing for the season is that each child is allowed two spectators,” Brenner said.

The league is looking at limiting the number of players and spectators at a game to about 100 people, since games are played on fields run by the Gorham Parks & Recreation Department. Brenner said the league worked closely with Parks & Recreation Director Cindy Hazelton to set guidelines for the games.

“We’re embarking on one of the first full seasons since all of this (the pandemic) started,” Brenner said. “So to get kids out of their houses and doing these practices and games, I think baseball and softball is really going to benefit from this, because kids have been wanting to do something like this for more than a year now.”

 While the league was unsure how many parents would want their children involved in spring sports, “we got enough players for five minor league baseball teams, four major league baseball teams, and three softball minor league teams and two softball major league teams,” he said. At about 12 players a team, that means about 115 boys will be on the baseball diamonds, and about 70 girls will take the fields for softball.

“We are going to be one of the largest Little League organizations in southern Maine this year, so I’m really impressed,” with how many parents got involved, Brenner said.

Along with the recently expanded allowances for spectators at sports, the state’s Center for Disease Control gave the go-ahead for inter-league play. That means Gorham will be playing against local towns such as Portland, Westbrook and Bonny Eagle.

Teams are planning for a 12-game season, with two or three games a week.

The post-season is still up in the air, since regional and national playoff games may not be possible. If there is not a regular post season, then local games will be added, Brenner said.

A player waits for the pitch before heading to second base in a Gorham Little League game from 2019. After cancelling all games last year, the league is starting a traditional season of baseball and softball on May 8. (Photo courtesy of GYBSA)

Baseball is played at fields at the Little Falls Recreation Area, Shaw Park, and Village School.

Softball competes on fields at Village School and at Robie Park, which is next door to the Gorham High School.

 Due to the pandemic Gorham Little League will not have an official opening ceremony, so games will start at Little Falls and Shaw Park without much fanfare the second weekend of May. A traditional closing ceremony is being planned “so we can present trophies,” Brenner said.

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