GRANDVILLE, Mich. — The state of Michigan is reopening little by little which means several travel baseball programs are taking advantage of that.
After the cancellation of high school baseball in the spring, the start of the travel baseball season is something players and coaches have been looking forward to.
"All these guys put in a lot of work over the winter and bam, it was just taken out from under them," said Diamonds baseball director, Alex Hoover.
Diamonds baseball and softball programs are taking advantage of the state's gradual reopening, scheduling scrimmages to prepare for the rest of the summer.
"The allowance of the number of people in one area were keeping us back," Hoover said, "with ten or less, we could do a lesson but that's about it. With 100 or less, that allows us to do something things as far as playing goes."
Diamonds began scrimmages on Tuesday, June 9 at the fields behind West Elementary in Grandville and the players were ready to go.
"It was a lot of joy and relief," smiled JT Sokolove of Hudsonville, "we've been practicing on our own and can't be around other people or whatever. Then Coach Hoover said we have a scrimmage on Tuesday and our group chat just blew up."
Nobody was more excited than recent high school graduate Kyle Ratliff of Wyoming who had his senior season cancelled. He called it a blessing to return to the field.
"It was such a relief, it gave me goosebumps," Ratliff smiled, "all the stress was gone. I was just ready to get back out on the field and play a game with my guys and get a good year in before college ball starts."
Coach Hoover's 17-U team is preparing for a tournament this weekend in Brighton.
"It's a release," Hoover said, "baseball is a way to get away from what's happening right now and what we went through. Everyone, I feel like, is still spinning. This is the relief everyone is looking for."
It can be tough for the players to comprehend everything that has happened in the past few few months but for Sokolove, the message is simple.
"Just don't take things for granted," he added.