College-level baseball back in action in Kansas

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 11:59 AM CDT
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Some college-level sports are back in action in Kansas as the state continues to move through the reopening process. Thursday night, the Great Bend Bat Cats hosted the LIberal Bee Jays in the first game of summer team college baseball action.

The Bat Cats and Bee Jays even got to play in front of fans in the stands. It's a return to something many weren't certain would happen this summer.

"About six, seven, eight weeks ago, (Kansas Collegiate League Baseball) was in discussions about whether or not to have a season with the COVID-19 concerns and so on," says Liberal Bee Jays Head Coach Eric Olmstead.

The Kansas Collegiate League Baseball (KCBL) remains closed due to the pandemic, but Olmstead says guys wanted to play baseball independently this summer.

"We waited as long as we could, tried to build a schedule," Olmstead says.

With college baseball seasons across the country cut short due to COVID-19, players were looking forward to opportunities to play this summer. Among them is Bee Jays player Cayde Ward who played for Seward County Community College.

"I called Coach Olmstead (and) just kind of was like, 'What's going on? What's the vibe in Kansas? How is everything going?'" Ward says. "And he's like, 'Our league just got canceled, but right now, we're working on getting some games together.' And two weeks later, he shoots me a text message. He's like, 'I'm up to 28 games,' and I'm like, 'it's time to get going again.'"

The players and coaches say they're happy to at least see fans in the stands, cheering them on safely.

"So fans will make smart decisions and it's a big ball park, you can spread out," Olmstead said Thursday night at the ballpark in Great Bend. "You know, they're still being cautious, still being safe, but they're ready for a little normalcy at this point."