LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Senior Softball League received approval Thursday morning from the county to start the first half of their senior schedule of games Saturday morning.
Last season, Kaua‘i Senior Softball President Joe Bertucci created a COVID-19 plan approved by the county to play a truncated schedule.
During 2020, the league experienced several stoppages that eventually prematurely ended its season, which was supposed to end by hosting the senior softball state tournament in early August.
The statewide event was to feature leagues competing against each other from neighboring islands.
Kaua’i Senior Softball began the 2020 season in January and paused play in March when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
The same plan was submitted and approved by the county Thursday morning.
Putting together a plan
Last season, the league followed the federal safety guidelines of the National Senior Softball Summit to return to play and adapt to new restrictions placed by the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league will follow the same restrictions as they did in 2020.
“We put together a pretty extensive COVID plan and submitted it to the county, and they accepted it with no changes,” Bertucci said.
Taking it slow
The league will play a 14-week schedule from January to March, and based on what transpires with regulations related to COVID-19, will continue to play after that.
“All we’ve done so far is submit the first half of the schedule that the county approved,” Bertucci said. “No one knows what is going on down the road a month to two months from now, but there is a good chance we will be playing another round.”
Following the rules
Some of the rules that will be in play include no pop-up tents, no potlucks, and players are expected to show up one hour before their game and leave the facility right after the game.
The stands are considered an extension of the dugout, and now fans will be allowed to sit in the stands while following social-distancing protocols.
According to Bertucci, the league was split on whether they wanted to play or not.
“For most players, it’s been a year, and they want to get over and beyond this,” Bertucci said. “There is some hesitancy to playing. Some players are optimistic, and some are not.”
The league is insured by Bollinger, the largest insurer of sporting events in the nation.
State Farm previously covered it until they refused to add the county as an additional insured entity in 2020.
The league’s insurance policy is currently valued at $1 million.
“I am just overall glad for the senior players in the league to go back out there with their team,” Bertucci said. “They’ve been out there with their friends and I’ve emphasized that we will continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines. It’s been approved by us to police them, and I am the policeman.”
Saturday, Jan. 9 schedule
9 a.m.: Barteks vs. Ohana Rebels vs. Hanapepe
10:15 a.m.: Rookies vs. Keonimana Gents
11:30 a.m.: West Kaua’i vs. Solid Steel
12:45 p.m.: Kuku’s Aces vs. Hanamaulu Hillsiders
9 a.m.: EK Legend vs. Da Kruzers
10:15 a.m.: Ohana vs. Kawaihau
11:30 a.m.: Aloha Kia Lihue A’s vs. Islanders
BYE: Da Killas
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.