American Legion teams looking for a way to play

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

American Legion baseball players may still take the diamond this summer, but it won’t be under the legion’s umbrella.

The Connecticut State American Legion Baseball Committee announced May 13 that the National American Legion has shut down all sponsorships and involvement in baseball for the 2020 season. The decision means there is no insurance for teams, and without insurance no games or team activities, like practices, can happen.

Representatives of the Naugatuck American Legion team and a majority of the other teams in Zone 5 are discussing ways to play this summer independently from American Legion, but involving many legion players in the area.

“We are still holding out hope of doing something possibly later in the summer,” Naugatuck head coach Mark Nofri said. “It would not be under the American Legion umbrella, and of course it would be within the guidelines of the state and Gov. Lamont’s office.”

Even if the baseball season only consists of teams in Zone 5, the group would look to put together a schedule of 16 to 22 games. Any games would depend on whether officials can get insurance worked out and if they get the go-ahead from the state.

The Naugatuck team, which includes players from Woodland and Seymour high schools, would certainly like to get back on the baseball field after reaching the Southern Division Super Regional championship last season and finishing as one of the last four teams standing.

“This team was made up of three different high schools and the kids made some lifelong friendships last year,” Nofri said. “I’m very proud of what they accomplished last year and they were so looking forward to getting back there again.”

Nofri said nothing is likely to happen until phase two of the state’s reopening plan begins June 20.

“We will know more at that time,” Nofri said. “But right now we are holding out hope that we will be back on the baseball field sometime this summer.”

“We are looking forward to playing baseball this summer,” he added. “Where that is and what that will look like remains to be seen. There is a lot of interest among the coaches in Zone 5 and we are meeting about what can get this done.”