SR Little League 2021 plans all worked out

SR Little League 2021 plans all worked out

By Hector Trujillo

In a year that has taken a grueling toll on everyone involved with outdoor sports, Scripps Ranch Little League (SRLL) was among those waiting anxiously to see if baseball would finally be allowed back after the shutdown was announced in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league, which was ready to submit safety plans and apply for permits in January 2021, got a much needed breath of fresh air when the state and county announced that games could be held under the Red Tier. At that time, the league was still under the dreaded Purple Tier guidelines, which had more severe restrictions.

“We decided to take the chance that by the time we registered players, ran assessments, formed teams and had practices, that games would be available for play,” Scripps Ranch Little League President Steve Hornyak said. “It worked out great as we only lost one week of playing time compared to a normal season.”

The father of four, Hornyak has coached at SRLL for 11 years along with being on the SRLL board for four years, and is now in his second year as president.

As for the league, it continues to follow all required guidelines with about 450 players taking part this year, which amounts to a 30 percent decline since pre-COVID. Despite the noticeable decline, there are currently the same number of teams in each division with a set limit on the number of players per team, which allows each participant more opportunities to play.

“It’s no secret baseball teaches many life lessons, including how to handle failure,” Hornyak said. “I view Little League as a recreational option for all levels of playing ability.”

Scripps Ranch Little League runs drafts for all divisions to balance teams and keep gameplay relatively competitive. The league also has several local Fair Play Rules that ensure each player gets playing opportunities other leagues do not offer, along with promoting a culture of  teaching baseball and giving players a chance to play multiple positions throughout the season. During playoff time, managers are free to put the best team on the field to try to win a championship, while still adhering to the local Fair Play Rules.

As for spring 2021, the regular season ended on May 15, and is immediately followed by playoff division champions being crowned before Memorial Day weekend along with the announcement of All Star teams.

Depending on how well those teams perform, the kids could play into August.

Registration for Fall Ball 2021 will open in July, with the season running from September into November.

“This is an opportunity to play a game every Sunday at the next level, giving players a chance to see how the division they will be moving up into next Spring is played,” Hornyak said. “It’s a developmental season and a great option to keep baseball skills going.”

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