Created: June 25, 2020 10:58 PM
(ABC 6 News) - After much anticipation, the Rochester Royals and the Austin Greyhounds amateur baseball teams are finally hearing the words, "play ball!"
On Thursday night, the Royals hosted the Greyhounds for their season opener and just a week ago, these teams were uncertain if there was even going to have a season.
"It was pretty quick," Royals infielder Jordan Stokes said. "We got the phone call, had three or four practices and here we are."
The league had to shorten the season due to the pandemic, but players are wanting to make the most of it and are hoping for a playoff run.
"I think we're basically using these games to get ready for the playoffs," Greyhounds' infielder Jack Dankert said. "Trying our best to get into our peak shape by the end of it so we can hopefully make a run."
As a whole, the teams are just excited and happy to get outside and finally play.
"I'm just glad we were able to get together the last couple of weeks here and really start playing again," Drew Block, a coach from the Royals said. "I think it's just good for...Especially the high school kids and some of the college kids that lost their spring season, to be able to come out and play again."
Stokes, a veteran with the Royals, said that he can't even explain how good it feels to be back.
"Just to be around the guys in general, playing baseball is a plus, but just to see all the guys and be around everybody again," Stokes added. "That's just better than anything."
Going forward, the league has implemented several guidelines for teams to follow to make sure they are staying safe as the world still battles the coronavirus.
"We're really gonna try to work on obviously staying six feet apart," Stokes said. "No handshakes, try our best with handshakes, and knuckles and no bare hand stuff. Try not to use each others gloves. We're not using each others helmets, we're using all of our own equipment and we can't share anything with anybody."
Greyhounds' coach Joe Ciola added that there will be, "no sunflower seeds, no spitting of any kind," and the dugouts will be supplied with cleaning products.
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