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With no Little LeagueR00;regional, state, national tournaments this year, local programs glum

May 10, 2020 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

It's a staple of the American summer, but the diamonds at the Saban Complex on Smith Road in Riverton will be silent this summer. In an emotional decision, the Riverton Little League Board canceled the 2020 season.

Lander Little League is expected to do the same.

No Little League this summer silences two to of the state's top youth baseball programs from a year ago.

The Riverton Juniors were state champions last summer, and Lander finished runner-up.

The Lander Under 12 all-stars fielded an outstanding team, loaded with returning players and ready to repeat as district champions and make another run at the state tournament.

A message from Riverton league officials provided background to the decision.

"It is with deep regret and heavy hearts that the Riverton Little League Board of Directors has decided to cancel the 2020 baseball season.

"With the rising number of positive COVID cases in Fremont County, the restrictions in place from the governor, and the well being of our children at the forefront of our minds, we feel this is the best option at this point.

Last Little League International, the worldwide governing board for the organization, also has canceled the Little League World Series.

The Wyoming Little League district and state tournaments were canceled as well.

"We as a board are true fans of baseball. There is nothing better than watching a major player smash a ball to center field with the bases loaded, seeing a minor player pitch his first strikeout, or watching a t-baller run the bases with such speed and excitement that they forget to round to second and run right to the outfield fence," the Riverton league statement reads.

"Summer nights under the lights, the crack of the bat and the smell of fresh popcorn bring true happiness to all of us. We love baseball. We are deeply saddened at the thought of some of our players aging out and possibly missing out on their last season, but baseball just isn't baseball if you can't hi-five your teammate for making a good play.

"It isn't baseball if you can't share some seeds in the dugout while cheering for other players, or shake hands as a sign of good sportsmanship at the end of a hard-fought game. It isn't baseball if the stands aren't full of cheering spectators.

Anyone who has already paid registration fees can contact the board for a refund by e-mailing at rivertonlittleleague@gmail.com and providing an address to send the refund to.

2020 promised to be a great season for Little League Baseball in both Riverton and Lander.

"It is our sincere hope that you all will join us next season for another great year of baseball. Until then, stay safe, keep practicing and remember what the great Joe DiMaggio said: 'When baseball is no longer fun, it's no longer a game,'" the Riverton memo concluded.

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