Every summer, hundreds of kids in Farmington and Farmington Hills grab their bats, balls, and gloves and head out to play in the South Farmington Baseball & Softball league.
Last summer, however, the season was limited due to COVID-19. Fundraising for the league, which helps pay for field improvements, was also down.
To cover the loss, the league – with the help of secretary Laura Wilkin and president Corrie Eastman – applied for and was awarded a $10,000 Oakland Together Non-Profit COVID-19 Economic Impact Grant through Oakland County.
Dan Irvin, marketing director for the league, said the grant will help pay for improvements to the ball fields at Drake Park, located on Drake Road south of Grand River. He’s working with Mayor Sara Bowman and City Manager David Murphy on the project.
“We’re going to focus on Drake (Park) this year because the city is planning to do some improvements there as well,” he explained.
Enrollment open for 2021
Enrollment for baseball, softball, and tee ball for kids of all ages is now open. Irvin said the league will observe strict COVID protocols in order to keep players, coaches, and families safe. According to the league’s website, these protocols include:
- Coaches, players and umpires socially distanced and masked
- Spectators socially distanced
- Hand sanitizer in the dugout
- Dugout use only for next person at bat and coaches
“Last year, our enrollment was down 40-some percent because of COVID and we limited the season,” he said. “We took safety protocols, which I’m very proud of.” As a result, he said, no cases of COVID were traced back to the league.
For more information about the league, enrollment and volunteering visit the South Farmington Baseball & Softball website.
Heading for Cooperstown
One of the casualties of the COVID pandemic was that the Farmington Blues, the league’s 12 and under boys’ traveling baseball team, was not able to make their annual trip to Dreams Field in Cooperstown, New York, to play in a tournament.
“My heart broke for every one of those kids who couldn’t participate last year,” said Irvin, who coaches and has a son who plays for the team.
This year, the Cooperstown trip is back on, with fundraising almost completed.
“The overwhelming response from the business community to help these kids get to Cooperstown has just been fantastic,” Irvin said. “We’ve been very blessed.”