DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Millikin University Baseball Head Coach Brandon Townsend says he is putting together a fall ball league for high school kids in the area.
He was hoping to get enough for about four teams. About 200 sign-ups later, they have enough for 15.
Townsend had wanted to start some sort of fall league for high school baseball players for years. Down time during the pandemic made for the perfect chance to finally try it out.
“I had the idea, before any of this, of doing this at some point,” says Townsend. “Then talking with my wife, who is a high school volleyball coach, about what kind of opportunities there are and following guideline, talking with our athletic director and some area high school coaches, it just seemed like there was opportunity for this.”
Townsend contacted several high school coaches in Central Illinois who all loved the idea. A lot of the players have not been able to play since their season was cancelled in Spring, and they are ready to get back to competition.
“It will feel somewhat like it’s normal, even though we know what’s going on around us,” says St. Teresa Sophomore Joe Brummer. “We’ve been waiting for this opportunity to finally play.”
Three to four Millikin players will coach and work with each team. Meaning it is also a unique opportunity for the players to see what baseball is like at the next level.
“I’ve been really excited for it because one, we can learn from all the college kids who can help us get better,” says Matt, Joe’s twin. “It will help us get normal with the feeling of what college baseball will play like.”
The state considers baseball a low-risk sport, but Townsend is still taking precautions seriously. He wants to make sure his league is as safe as it can be.
“That’s basically what it comes down to, is following the guidelines the best we can,” says Townsend. “Being able to do this and give a great experience and being able to play some semblance of baseball is our goal.”
The Millikin University Fall League will play every Sunday at Workman Family Field, where the Big Blue play. Each player will have a face covering to use when they are close to other players. The first games will be Aug. 30 and run through October.