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Summer sports in peril as fields ordered closed until July 5

'I think at this point we are starting to wrap our head around that we aren’t going to be playing baseball this year,' said local official
All city recreational facilities are closed until at least July 5. Tyler Evans/OrilliaMatters

Local spring and summer sports seasons are hanging by a thread after the City of Orillia announced earlier today that all sports fields and arenas and all public events are cancelled until July 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orillia Legion Minor Baseball (OLMB) president Wes Winkel said today's decree puts the season in jeopardy.

“I think at this point we are starting to wrap our head around that we aren’t going to be playing baseball this year,” Winkel said.

Winkel says nothing is official and, for now, baseball will not be played until at least July, with the earliest start date to the season being two weeks after the bans on city facilities are lifted.

“The baseball organization will meet to discuss how we are going to proceed going forward,” Winkel explained.

As for Orillia men’s, women’s and co-ed slo-pitch league games, league president Mike Borrelli is keeping slim hope alive, for now.

“We aren’t going to cancel our league just yet," said Borrelli. "If the city pushes things back again in the middle of June, then at that point we will decide to wash out the 2020 season,” Borrelli said.

While the season remains in limbo, Borrelli has cancelled his Northern Shootout Tournament that was scheduled for June 19-21. The annual tournament typically brings around 90 teams to Orillia from all over the province.

As for the Orillia Kings Jr. B lacrosse team, there was talk the Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) could potentially start the seasion July 1.

With local arenas now closed until at least July 5, it’s becoming more and more clear every day to Kings general manager Rob Blasdell that the season is likely not going to happen.

“We had a conference call last night and we think the OLA is going to kibosh the season,” Blasdell said.

However, the Kings still hope to build a team and keep their community presence felt.

“We have some contingency plans in place to try and still have a team and do some fun things once the sanctions are lifted and we can get back into the community,” Blasdell said.

Officials from the Orillia Minor Lacrosse Association and the Orillia Lady Kings’ field lacrosse program could not be reached for comment today. The Lady Kings already cancelled its popular house league program; a decision about its rep program had not yet been finalized according to its website.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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