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Coronavirus strikes again; 2020 Wisconsin American Legion baseball canceled

The American Legion Department of Wisconsin has canceled its programming of American Legion Baseball within the state for the 2020 season.

The recommendation was made by the Wisconsin American Legion Baseball Association (WALBA) Board of Directors on a video conference May 6. The Department Executive Committee then made the final decision on May 9. It marks the first time since 1927 the Department of Wisconsin will not crown American Legion Baseball champions.

When the decision was made May 9, 24 other states had already canceled their American Legion Baseball programs for 2020. The nation’s eight regional tournaments and American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C. were already canceled in early April.

“Everyone involved in our program hoped to have American Legion Baseball in 2020, but this was a necessary decision,” Wisconsin American Legion Baseball commissioner Roger Mathison said in a May 9 press release. “There were a number of factors that the board took under consideration, primarily the health of players, coaches, umpires, parents, fans and volunteers involved in the program.”

Facility availability, travel concerns and the uncertainty on when sporting events will be allowed in Wisconsin contributed to the decision. “We fully expect to have our program return in 2021 and be played at a high level,” Mathison said.

A total of 217 teams participated in Wisconsin’s American Legion Baseball program in 2019, making it the fourthlargest program in the country. Wisconsin trailed only Minnesota (366 teams), Nebraska (271 teams) and Pennsylvania (253 teams) in the number of registered teams last year.

State tournaments in 2020 were scheduled for Sheboygan (Class AAA), Fort Atkinson (Class AA), Viroqua (Class A), Plover (17 and under) and Lomira-Theresa (16 and under).

Medford’s Post 147 team qualified for the last two Class A state tournaments.