Cubs’ pitcher Hudson Fontenot delivers a pitch in a Major’s game against the Dots. (Photo by Sawyer Jagneaux)
Start, stop, and repeat
A week after returning to the diamonds for a modified summer schedule, play was called off for Ville Platte Dixie Youth and Girls Softball Association because a player had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a statement from Evangeline Ville Platte Recreation District, “The parents had the child tested not due to symptoms, but due to the child having spent time with an extended family member the weekend of June 6 who tested positive on Wednesday, June 10. The only symptom displayed by the child has been a mild stomachache.”
The statement continued, “Again, there is no evidence at this time that the child has spread the virus to anyone else at the ballpark. Additionally, the child’s symptoms are minor, and the child’s contraction of the virus was due to contact with an extended family member outside the ballpark and leagues.”
However, the City of Ville Platte decided to cancel the remainder of the season because of public health concerns effective Friday, June, 12.
The city’s decision prompted a bevy of phone calls to Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and city council members from parents and others speaking out against cancelling the season.
The groundswell of opposition from the public led to another bevy of phone calls to medical professionals in the local area seeking clarity on the situation. One of these phone calls resulted in Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region 4 Office of Public Health Director for Louisiana, reaching out to Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine.
Based on the conversation with Dr. Stefanski, Mayor Vidrine decided to open the park back up allowing play to resume.
VPGSA President Sadie Figueiredo said, “We are very excited to be able to play softball again this season. This has been a season we will never forget. We would like to thank Mayor Vidrine for reconsidering her decision to shut down the park and also for her helping us problem solve through the incident.”
She continued, “I personally would like to thank the parents for hanging in there with us through all the ups and downs and for trusting us to keep their children safe. Now let’s play ball and have fun.”
“We’re glad to be playing again,” said DYB President Jedd LaFleur. “We’re following guidelines in order to try to prevent any spread of the virus amongst our youth or their families.”
According to LaFleur, the T-Ball and Coach Pitch leagues began play again on Tuesday with their previous schedule, and the Minors began their schedule again the following day on Wednesday. However, the season is over for the Majors.
The decision to play is contingent on DYB and VPGSA following the proper guidelines and procedures put in place by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)in regards to youth sports.
On top of those guidelines, which were forwarded to Park Director David LaHaye, the team and coaches of the affected player have to be quarantined for 14 days before resumption of play.
“I’m glad we conferred with experts on how to deal with the situation and followed their advice,” LaHaye said. “A characteristic of good leadership is to properly use the resources you have around you in making decisions. I felt that this is exactly what happened here.”
On behalf of the Evangeline Ville Platte Recreation District Board, President Tracey Jagneaux said, “After getting the message from the mayor that we can start back up, the Rec Board is excited. We’re just excited the park is able to open back up, and the kids are able to participate and play again. I know there may be some teams and some individual players who are not going back to normal play or not going to be playing again, but the vast majority of the kids who participate in Ville Platte Girls Softball Association and Dixie Youth are going to be playing again.”
He concluded, “We’re excited to provide the facility for them to be able to play. We want to make sure people understand that these are just times where we have to follow things because of the times we live in. We have to follow guidelines and protocols, and shutting the park down was just one of those things that probably needed to be done. Personally, I didn’t think it needed to be shut down forever, but we were able to get it back going.”