HERMON – After months out of play, an independent league gave local baseball players an opportunity to take the field for the first time this year.
In a year of uncertainty, no sport is a given due to COVID-19 as high school players saw this spring. The spirit of American Legion baseball lives on this summer even without an official season. “I was actually pretty bummed about it at first, and then I heard this was coming so I might as well play, this was my second to last season so I want to get as much baseball as I can,” said Hermon baseball rising senior Wyatt Gogan.
The newly formed Maine Independent Baseball League kicked off its season Wednesday night with four games. The league is the brainchild of coach Scott Cournoyer, who would typically coach the Midcoast (Belfast) Legion team, and heads the Belfast team in this summer’s league. It was the first baseball game many had played in since the spring of 2019. “I was kind of worried, I didn’t want to get out of the mood, first chance I had to get back in to baseball I wanted it, they asked me if I wanted to play with Hermon, first thing I said was ‘yeah,'” said Hermon rising sophomore Anthony Crisafulli.
This season will happen under unique circumstances. Each team only uses its own baseballs sanitized after each inning, Family and friends are asked to social distance from each other and the players, temperature checks are conducted before each game, and one of the most unique aspects: the post-game hat tip in lieu of a handshake. “It was kind of unique actually, I didn’t mind it actually, I thought it was pretty cool but you just have to adapt to it,” said Gogan
The opportunity to play the game this summer happened through the hard work of coaches and parents involved; prepping fields that haven’t been used in months and paying out of their own pockets to give the players a season. “All the kids came out and helped with it and after that they felt a lot of pride that they were able to work on a field that they’re going to play on,” said Hermon summer league coach Paul Crisafulli.