MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Baseball Association (MVBA) announced that its 2020 little league baseball season has been officially canceled due to the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, released on Friday, the MVBA announced its decision ‘with a heavy heart.’

The short statement, in which the MVBA thanked all of the coaches, parents, volunteers and sponsors, also said that there will be more details forthcoming.

“At this point, based on everything we learned about the guidelines that came out (Thursday), it’s not going to happen this year, for the kids,” said MVBA president Austin Goetzman. “We’re going to have to cancel the season.”

Goetzman cited the late start to the season and increased liability as the major sticking points to getting a season underway.

“We would have to have one, if not two board members, down at the park, every night,” Goetzman said. “Also, the season would go into July and that would leave us the risk of families going on vacation and losing games because of that. In the long run, this virus has pushed us back two full months. We would start the season at the time we were originally scheduled to finish.”

The board had met Sunday and then again on Thursday before coming to the decision.

“I came in Thursday thinking, ‘(Governor Mike DeWine) opened up the season. We’re going to have baseball,’” Goetzman said. “Then, the board members brought a bunch of things to my attention that I hadn’t even thought about.”

Once the complexities of running a league in a pandemic mounted up during Thursday’s meeting, the decision became easier to make.

“I saw too many concerns, too many liabilities and too many risks that we would have to take, as a board, just to have a season.” Goetzman said. “I never would have thought about insurance, or the liability of us as board members, being in charge of running the fields and making sure that everyone was following the guidelines. We just couldn’t take the risk of something happening at the park, under our watch, and not knowing what would happen because of that.”

In spite of the disappointment, Goetzman is grateful for all of the support the community has shown.

“We just want to thank our parents and sponsors for bearing with us through these times.” Goetzman said, on Thursday evening. “Without them we wouldn’t even have a league. We had so many people willing to wait to try to have a season and let their kids play. That speaks to the community that we live in and it is greatly appreciated.”

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Geoff Cowles: 740-397-5333 or gcowles@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @http://twitter.com/mountvernonnews