The Jefferson Blue Devils would have liked to win both of their baseball games Sunday.
But it’s hard to complain about results at a time like this.
Jefferson split a season-opening doubleheader Sunday against Rome in non-league games at the Rome Dome.
The Raiders—out of the Land O’ Lakes League—won the first game 4-3. The Blue Devils—who play in the Home Talent League—took the second contest 2-0.
Jefferson began its season last year on May 5, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed back the Blue Devils’ starting date this season to Sunday. Home Talent managers are meeting Saturday in Waunakee to discuss whether the HTL will start in earnest July 4 or whether the season will officially be canceled.
Maybe no players were more grateful to take the field Sunday than the team’s Jefferson High School seniors, who had their final prep season taken away because of the virus.
“It felt good,” Jefferson senior and shortstop Reese Fetherston said.
“It sucked because we would have been in prime form right now. But it felt good to do something, just play baseball.”
Fans packed the first-base and third-base lines and were scattered behind home plate. Some wore masks to cover their noses and mouths, but an overwhelming majority went without. The same was true for the two umpires that called the game.
While some local leagues have talked about gameday parameters and procedures, it was business as usual Sunday in Rome.
“We’re pretty much treating it like a regular baseball game,” Jefferson manager Ryan Wagner said. “For an opener, I thought it went pretty well.”
“We were waiting to get on the field, waiting for that first game to get over,” Fetherston said. “We knew it was our chance. We wanted to play, especially after missing our season. We really wanted to play.”
There are hopes to play another doubleheader Saturday back at Rome, according to Wagner.
“We’re going to try to get as many games as we can until league,” Wagner said.
“It was great to be back on the baseball field.”