Zack Costopoulos

Cheyenne American Legion Post 6 first baseman Zack Costopoulos drives a ball to deep left field against the Rocky Mountain Oysters during the Continental Amateur Baseball Association wood-bat tournament Saturday at Powers Field in Cheyenne. Tyler Poslosky/WyoSports

CHEYENNE – Even though its season was weeks from starting, the Cheyenne American Legion Post 6 baseball team hasn’t been immune to the coronavirus pandemic.

The team had already started practicing indoors at the WyCo Baseball Academy, but those group workouts decreased in size with each new directive on how many people should be assembled together.

Those practices also were halted when the Cheyenne and Laramie County governments ordered all gyms and recreational facilities – among other similar businesses – closed to help stem the tide of COVID-19’s spread.

Post 6 expected to have practices and scrimmages at Powers Field starting Friday. That plan had to be aborted when Wyoming Legion Baseball commissioner Cody Beers told clubs they couldn’t practice or meet until at least April 6.

That directive falls in line with the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s ban on its member schools practicing. Even though Wyoming Legion Baseball isn’t obligated to follow the WHSAA’s lead, it will from here on out.

“Ordinarily, we would be practicing every day at this point,” Cheyenne manager Ty Lain said. “We would have been inside at least and, if the weather was nice, we would be getting on the turf football fields at the high schools and working out there.”

The Sixers aren’t out of luck just because they can’t practice officially.

“There are a lot of guys who have some sort of hanging net or something they can hit into that will allow them to get a couple swings in every day,” Lain said. “They also can play catch with their relatives to keep their arms strong.”

A rash of arm injuries a few summers ago led Post 6 to look for new training methods to help strengthen its players’ arms. It started incorporating resistance bands into its training. The players working with the bands saw enough benefits that they became a program-wide training method last summer.

“We can do enough by playing catch and using those bands that we can build our arms up and keep them ready for the season,” Lain said.

The Sixers regularly play as many as 70 games per season, but Lain doesn’t expect them to start playing until June at the earliest. The delay may not have much of an impact on the number of games Cheyenne plays because the early part of the schedule features weekend doubleheaders and an occasional weekday game.

“We would still have a solid season and get a good chunk of our games,” he said. “Once school gets out in June, we’re playing games almost every day. One thing that concerns me right now is whether we’ll be able to make some of our trips to other states.

“Those are also up in the air because of how their state’s leaders are approaching coronavirus. We might be able to play a state tournament and then have no regional or national tournament. We might have a state and regional tournament and no national tournament. We just don’t know right now.”

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.

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