A Brunswick Cal Ripekn player stands on the mound with a smile on his face on the last day of the season, Thursday. Adam Robinson/Times Record

BRUNSWICK — A few youth baseball players showed up to Lishness Field on Thursday night for a game while one team showed up for a practice on the last night of the Brunswick Cal Ripken baseball season. 

Brunswick Cal Ripken finished off its five-week season that started July 6,

“The kids have been awesome,” Cal Ripken board member Scott Mullen said. “The kids have been incredibly resilient through this, right? We’ve put a lot of thought and effort and coordination into it. The kids have just adapted. They’ve said, ‘OK, this is how it is.’ They do their thing and they just play baseball. A few things are different but they still come out and play ball, laugh and do their thing.”

On the first day of the season, with so many unknowns surrounding not just baseball, but the entire world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a sense of normalcy almost brought Mullen to tears. 

“The first day I wanted to cry because one team was over here and these guys were over here and I heard kids laughing and I said, ‘This is exactly why we did this,’” Mullen said. “t was awesome.”

The numbers were down this season, which usually ends in July. However, because of state and local guidelines, the youth baseball season in Brunswick started in July.

Mullen estimated that the league has about a third of its usual numbers with 54 players this season. 

“We are obviously smaller than what we were,” Mullen said. “We probably have about a third of the numbers. We started in July and we usually end in July so I think people had vacations. We had a clear communication plan and did parents have questions? Yes, but we answered them and everyone showed up and it’s been awesome.”

Coach Sam Farrell agreed that the normalcy was crucial for the young players. 

“The first day the kids came in they got to come and be together and they got to be normal,” Farrell said. “All these kids and parents that have been inside or doing distance learning you don’t have a team and can’t be a part of a team, so for these kids to be a part of a team and Cal Ripken got them jerseys and hats to match and just have some togetherness that we haven’t had. We are finishing our season with a practice instead of a game and they’re pumped, you’d think they wouldn’t want to come. Anything to have the kids feel normal is awesome.”

The players come in and drop their equipment off at a designated spot along the fence with numbers designating their spots. No one shares bats, the dugouts aren’t used and everything and everyone is constantly getting sanitized. 

“Every kid has their number, they come in and put their stuff down and a lot of the kids have their own sanitizers,” Mullen said. “They don’t pile their stuff on top of each other, don’t share bats and we don’t use the dugouts. We spread out, sanitize before and after. We as coaches, honestly, we do it. Do I like it and talking with this on? No, but it’s what we should be doing. I like playing baseball more.”

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