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Prescott to suspend season until April 6 after Little League calls for temporary halt
Little League

Little League International issued a statement Thursday, March 12, 2020, asking its 6,500 programs in 84 countries to suspend league activities until April 6, which includes quad-city leagues like Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. (Les Stukenburg/Prescott News Network, file)

Little League International issued a statement Thursday, March 12, 2020, asking its 6,500 programs in 84 countries to suspend league activities until April 6, which includes quad-city leagues like Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. (Les Stukenburg/Prescott News Network, file)

PRESCOTT VALLEY — Following suit with many professional, collegiate and amateur leagues across the world, Little League International issued a statement Thursday asking its 6,500 programs in 84 countries to temporarily suspend league activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Little League International recommended the temporary halt until no earlier than April 6, according to the statement, meaning all practices, team functions and games are to cease.

“While each community is being affected differently by the coronavirus, the Little League International board of directors and staff feel that it is in the best interest of our volunteers and participant families to delay the implementation of the Little League season to begin no earlier April 6,” the statement read.

“If your league chooses to continue to operate in its local community, then we strongly encourage you to seek the counsel of your community municipalities, public health departments, and local school districts,” the statement continued.

Prescott Little League President Brian Patterson said they will follow their recommendation.

“That means everything. No practices. No opening ceremonies,” Patterson said in a phone interview Thursday night.

Patterson added that the league plans to hold a “closing ceremony” instead, and once April 6 comes around, the schedule will begin as already assigned at every level from tee ball on.

“If the season doesn’t pick up, full refunds will be given back to all players and their families,” Patterson said, adding that he doesn’t expect that to be the case, however.

Barry Wallace, new president of the Prescott Valley Little League, said they plan to suspend league activities until April 6 as well, per the request of Little League International.

“We’re on the same page. Hopefully all the leagues in District 10 will be on the same page,” Wallace said Thursday.

District 10 President Coco Minner has asked for a conference call between all presidents, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.

“I want to talk to all my presidents to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Minner said in a phone interview Thursday night. “I don’t want to put anyone in danger, or at this point parents or grandparents.”

Chino Valley Little League President Rob Short, however, has not postponed his league activities as of Thursday night.

“At this time, it is only a recommendation and not a requirement. There have also been no mandates to suspend play by our state government, local government, or local district,” a statement said on Chino Valley Little League’s Facebook page.

Short did say, however, that pending the District 10 meeting outcome Friday night, Chino Valley will “either suspend play until April 6 or continue normal baseball and softball activities.”

“We will keep a close eye on this and notify all players and families if play suspends,” the statement on Facebook said.

In a phone interview Thursday night, Short said he’d like things to proceed as possible, but he realizes safety is first.

“At this point, we aren’t doing anything other than making people aware of the situation, encouraging to be cautious and letting them know what we know,” Short said. “We don’t want to make a quick, hasty decision, but we want to stay in accordance with any one of our governing bodies.”

Follow Brian M. Bergner Jr. on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email him at bbergner@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.

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