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Little League cancels: Districts vote not to hold state championship tourneys

Negaunee's Connor Munson pitches to Portage Lake in the finals of the championship bracket in the Little League baseball Minors tournament held in South Range on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

NORWAY — There will not be Little League baseball or softball state tournaments held this summer in Michigan, including one that was scheduled to be played in the Upper Peninsula.

The state’s 16 Little League district administrators voted to cancel state tournaments after Little League International canceled regional tournaments and the World Series last week. All or parts of three districts are in the U.P.

Little League International gave each state permission to have tournaments up to, and including, state tournaments. However, state tournaments will not happen in Michigan this summer.

Norway had been scheduled to host the 8-10-year-old boys baseball state tournament at Marion Park in Norway during mid-July.

“It’s always a disappointment when things get canceled, but there was no way that the Michigan Little League could hold a state tournament this year,” Norway Area Little League Treasurer Brett Baij said. “We were looking forward to showing off this area, but with the cancellation of all the state tournaments, we will now be hosting that tournament in 2021.”

Michigan district administrators said that regular season Little League games could still be played, as well as district tournaments, in areas where conditions warrant. No indication has been made of a decision by U.P. Little League organizations.

“Baseball and softball are such a huge part of many kids’ summer plans that we are going to do whatever we can to get the kids playing and allowing them to spend time outside with their friends and teammates,” Baij said. “We don’t know when that might happen, but once gatherings are allowed to be held, we will be working with the local municipalities and other leagues to work out a schedule and see if we can get some games in this year.

“Safety of the players and fans will always be our No. 1 priority when looking at starting a season.”

Baij, along with Norway Area LL President Brian Adams, will work with Kingsford LL President Brock Wallis and Iron Mountain LL President Lindsey Solka in coming weeks to reach a decision.

Wallis noted that the three area organizations hope to make a decision on the status of the upcoming season on or around May 30. Wallis also piggybacked off of what Baij said in regards to the current status of the season.

“The way our local league is set up will help us quickly set up a schedule and move forward with plans when the restrictions are lifted,” said Baij. “We are lucky to be surrounded by other leagues that are willing to compete and share the same excitement for youth sports as we do.”

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