By CT McDonald

With the recent announcement that recreational facilities will be allowed to open beginning this Sunday, including ballparks, local summer teams could have a path to a modified 2020 season.

American Legion Baseball (ALB) teams have created an independent league to play this summer, and those teams have been signing up players — and will be through Sunday, May 31 — to play in the new league.

It’s the South Carolina American Summer League (SCASL), and many local and state ALB teams are signing on to the new league, with the season start drawing near.

The Chapin/Newberry Indians — who won the 2015 ALB World Series as Chapin/Newberry Post 193/24 — is in, as well as Lexington Post 7’s team. A new junior team, Irmo, has signed up and will play as a Lexington P7 affiliate, according to an SCASL twitter post.

Chapin/Newberry is accepting applications from players who attended Chapin, Clinton, Dutch Fork, Mid-Carolina, Newberry, Newberry Academy, Saluda and Whitmire schools.

The Columbia Northeast area will also be represented in the 2020 independent league for the first time in years. Richland Post 215 will feature players from Ridge View and others over to Lower Richland, and Richland Northeast has also signed on with a junior team to play in the SCASL.

Other familiar American Legion Baseball teams around the state include, but are not limited to, Florence Post 1, Camden Post 17, Sumter Post 15, Orangeburg, and Greer Post 115, the defending ALB state champion.

SCASL will use American Legion Baseball rules and age requirements, and plans to field both senior and junior teams. Registration runs through May 31, leagues and schedules are to be announced June 8, and the season begins June 29 and continues through July 31, with playoffs August 3 – 16.

The challenge for many, or all, of the teams could be an available home field and funding.

Adhering to the guidelines issued by the state because of the virus pandemic will also be a challenge. As with the guidelines by the Irmo Little League, the state’s requirements and recommendations are detailed and extensive in order to allow sports activities in a safe and responsible manner.

Those guidelines can be found at acceleratesc.gov and following the link “View information about the lifting of restriction on attractions and youth and adult recreational sports,” and then the link “Specific guidelines issued by the “Response” component of AccelerateSC can be found here.”