Members of Southwestern’s baseball team watch the action from the dugout during the 2018 season. High School baseball was canceled this spring but there is a hope that there will be a season of sorts for local players later this summer. (Courier file photo)
Members of Southwestern’s baseball team watch the action from the dugout during the 2018 season. High School baseball was canceled this spring but there is a hope that there will be a season of sorts for local players later this summer. (Courier file photo)
The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out the high school baseball season on both sides of the Ohio River, but a local group is hoping to get local players back on the field later this summer.

A group led by Madison High School head baseball coach Tim Armstrong and his assistant coach Joe Jenner have approached the City of Madison Parks Board about forming a league made up of high school players to begin play in mid- to late-July. The league would be open to all high school players who were enrolled in good standing for the 2019-20 school year, including graduated seniors.

“We really hate the idea that these guys had their seasons taken away, especially the seniors,” Jenner said. “We were hoping to do something to bring some normalcy back.”

As of now, the league is still in the planning stages and the Parks Board has yet to make a decision but Jenner said the response has been very positive.

According to the plan, the league would be marketed to Jefferson County high school athletes as well as surrounding counties, such as Carroll and Trimble in Kentucky. Under IHSAA rules, only five players from one high school may participate on a team at a given time and the league would make sure that players were scattered to different teams. All players would be signed up individually, not as a group.

Jenner said the hope is that teams could be formed in early July, after the state of Indiana’s COVID final phase of response is lifted on July 4 with games beginning a few weeks later. The league would run into the fall, concurrent with the fall high school sports season.

“We’ll play games on evenings and on Saturday evenings so that we wouldn’t interfere with fall sports. We may even have a lot of Saturday doubleheaders, we’ll just have to see,” Jenner said. “Obviously high school fall sports would take precedence over the league. We just want to get guys back out there.”

Jenner said that he has contacted several local baseball coaches about interest among their players. He also said that additional baseball coaches would need to be found because IHSAA rules forbid current high school coaches from leading teams.

The league would be a City of Madison Parks league but the proposal is that the Madison High School baseball coaching staff will run the league. The cost per player is still to be determined.

If any local players or coaches have any questions about the proposed league, they can contact Jenner at (812) 265-5132.