Major blow for Lismore baseball tournaments
LISMORE will miss out on major Australian baseball tournaments this season with only one of the two certain to return next year.
Baseball Australia confirmed the 2020 Little League and Senior League national tournaments would not go ahead due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Little League (10-12 years) tournament is locked in for next year at Albert Park while the senior titles (13-16 years) are still in limbo.
There is a big chance it will stay in Lismore with the Far North Coast association hosting teams from across Australia in both events.
It had been hoped that the national events could still be staged later in the year despite the announcement by Little League International to cancel the Little League World Series tournaments.
The winning teams from the Lismore event usually earn a ticket to the United States tournament.
Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale said a lack of clarity on when travel restrictions would lift in some states, ability for states to play their championships beforehand and need to set a deadline so next season can commence as close to normal had ended any hope.
"It's with great disappointment we need to officially cancel the 2020 Australian Little League National Tournaments," he said.
"But with every day that passes the timeline reduces and increases the challenges we face to fit in four tournaments, in particular securing flights.
"We now have the chance to regroup and prepare for 2021 when border restrictions have been lifted and our national champions will again have a run at a World Series event."
Vale said he felt for the baseball community and understood the disappointment for participants, their families, and officials.
The events were originally postponed in March following the introduction of restrictions on non-essential travel between states due to COVID-19.
Far North Coast has benefited by hosting the event with one of its age teams playing in the Little League tournament for the last two years.
Lismore also hosted the Australian and Canadian under-18s teams last year when they used the facilities as a training base before the World Cup in South Korea.