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There will be a summer season for high school baseball players, though it will have a different look, for the most part.

And to see that look, you will have to travel. There will not be any games at McDonald County High School this summer. MCHS baseball coach Kevin Burgi said the team will not be allowed to use the high school field due to concerns from covid-19.

Burgi said there will be a few tournaments, but the major portion of the schedule will be an 8-on-8 league in Joplin.

Burgi said the league will feature the use of a pitching machine instead of using "live" pitching. He said the thinking of the use of pitching machines is the avoidance of injuries to pitchers.

"I think this will be really good for us," Burgi said. "We are concerned about injuries to all players, but especially our pitchers' arms. Not only have they not thrown for such a long time, but they also haven't been running or lifting any weights. So not only are their arms not in shape, neither are their legs, which leads to arm injuries."

Burgi said pitchers will be able to throw in the bullpens at the 8-on-8 games in order to get in shape for tournaments, which will feature live pitching.

He said the league will begin on June 4 for the middle school/freshman team and on June 5 for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Games will be played at Joe Becker Stadium or Wendell Redden Field in Joplin.

The first tournament of the summer will actually be held the weekend prior to the starting of the league. Burgi said the 16U team will play in a tournament at Carl Junction beginning May 29.

"I had gotten into this tournament before the covid-19 hit, but I wanted to get out," Burgi said. "The other coaches said they were all in the same shape when it came to pitching and they talked me into staying in. The plan is to throw kids just an inning at a time."

He said other tournaments will be held during June in Fort Scott and Coffeyville for both the 18U and 16U teams.

Burgi said though the Missouri State High School Activities Association waived numerous summer coaching restrictions for this year, the Big 8 Conference voted to keep those restrictions in place.

"That's fine with me," Burgi said. "I have got my dad (former college and high school coach John Burgi) and some parents who I have complete confidence in if they are needed to coach."

Burgi said another concern is for multiple sport athletes to be able to attend summer workouts and practices for those sports.

"The great thing about this is our coaches work really well together," Burgi said. "We all know there are several athletes we have to "share." Coach Hoover (football coach Kellen Hoover) and coach Joines (basketball coach Brandon Joines) and I have great relationships and we are all going to do what is best for the kids."

Burgi said getting repetitions in this summer is the goal.

"I just want to play as many games as possible this summer," Burgi said. "But we don't want to hurt any arms. We also will have to get the kids back into the weight room in order to start to get back into shape. We, just like everyone else, have lost a lot when it comes to strength and physical fitness."

Sports on 05/21/2020

Print Headline: Summer Ball Season A Go For Seniors

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