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First ever East Tennessee Summer High School baseball league ready to swing into action

(WVLT)
Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 7:20 PM EDT
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The ETHSBL begins season play on Thursday, June 4, spanning through the end of July. Each team is slated to play 12

regular-season games.

These games will be hosted with the atmosphere just like a Tennessee Smokies Minor League baseball game with video board graphics, promotions, and everyone’s favorite ballpark food.

For league standings, statistics, and more information on the East Tennessee High School Baseball League visit the Smokies website

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Action for the 12 league teams made up of high school players from our area begins on Thursday. During the first part of this week, the kids are getting their pictures taken, walk-up music requests put in and even getting the lay of the land of the pristine Smokes Stadium turf, all part of the experience of playing in a pro park.

"To really get an experience, had we been playing Smokies baseball they may not have had this experience to come out here and do so we're pumped about it, we're excited about it. I wish I could have the experience when I was growing up," said Smokies General Manager Tim Volk.

Players are excited about the chance to play, too.

"This is gonna be a great time because I'm glad I get to be with my friends again, and I actually get to see people I know. I hope we can get something out of it going into next season up at Cocke County," said Cocke County player Jacob King.

Sevier County coach Casey Taylor says it is a big opportunity for the kids.

"To be able to have this provided especially at this facility and we've got good numbers in our Johnson City division as well as another 16 or 18 teams up there competing against each other. To be able to go through a playoff format which will be similar to postseason play it will be a neat experience and we're happy to get this thing started," said Taylor.

For the kids, it’s a welcomed opportunity to be out here after having their season’s postponed due to Covid-19 says Jacob King, "I know that they have to sanitize everything and we have have to keep our distance, but I'm just glad that we get to play ball."

The players are having their pictures taken for the jumbo-tron, and the Smokies are providing them with jerseys and caps, and there’ll even be a PA announcer during their games.

All, of course, being done with social distancing and safety in mind says Volk, "As it relates to COVID-19, we're gonna do everything we can to make sure you all are safe, that our fans and our staff are safe. One thing you will notice we will not have are community water coolers in the dugout. Do what you can when you're not on the field, we understand it's a team sport, but we're asking you to do everything you can to socially distance yourselves throughout these next two months in this league. All the coaches everybody's been tremendous throughout this whole process so far asking what can they do to help how do we do this, how can we do that."

"300 people at a high school game, you're gonna put 300 people in this stadium it's gonna look like nobody's here so to be able to play at this beautiful place, spread out and play the game we all love it's just an incredible opportunity for us," added Cocke County head coach Andy Chrisman VI.

There's a similar league taking place in Johnson City with another 16-to-18 teams taking part. By the way, fans are invited, but like the players will be asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines with regards to seating and concessions. Tickets are just five dollars and those are good for the whole day.

Again, league standings, statistics, and more information visit the Smokies online

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