In this June 8, 2016, photo, Graphic Printing catcher Sidney Reedy tags out Breanna Randall of Jay County Monuments as she attempts to score during a Portland Junior League softball game. PJL announced May 12 its plans for the 2020 season, which would begin June 29. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
In this June 8, 2016, photo, Graphic Printing catcher Sidney Reedy tags out Breanna Randall of Jay County Monuments as she attempts to score during a Portland Junior League softball game. PJL announced May 12 its plans for the 2020 season, which would begin June 29. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
The ting of metal bats and the snap of leather usually signifies the start of spring and the dog days of summer.

Cracking pads and referee whistles are a common sound during the autumn months.

Plans are now in place for both to return this year.

The Portland Junior League Board of Directors on May 12 announced it will proceed with a baseball and softball season this summer at Weiler-Wilson Park.

Jay County Pee Wee Football also has plans for its fall schedule at Hines/Inman Field.

“Pretty much everything is in line with what (Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb) has put into place,” said PJL president Brian Ison. “(We’re) still restricted at the local level. Everything is pending on a local decision from park board but also from Heath Butz from the county health department.”

Exactly when Portland Junior League will begin its season is dependent upon Portland Park Board’s decision at its June 2 meeting. It was announced earlier this month Portland Water Park would not open as planned during Memorial Day weekend, and further updates regarding the status of Portland’s parks would come during the June meeting.

Under Holcomb’s “Back On Track Indiana” plan, recreational sports leagues and tournaments may begin June 14. However, locally it is contingent on Jay County Health Department and Portland Park Board’s allowing those to resume.

“Of course, we’ll do social distancing, we will have signage,” Ison said. “Everybody will be participating in and making sure we practice all of those recommendations.”

Portland Junior League will continue to have online registration — go to bit.ly/PJLregistration to register — until June 10. Live registration dates will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 3 and 10 at Jay Community Center, 115 E. Water St., and no late registrations will be accepted.

Teams will be selected June 13, allowing for practices to be conducted June 15 through 27.

The six-week season will begin June 29 and end Aug. 14, with a single-elimination tournament for all of its divisions.

“Please keep in mind this is a tentative schedule and could change in the event of a local spike in positive COVID-19 cases,” Ison said on the league’s Facebook page.

Ison also said the league will make every attempt to schedule games at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but depending on how many teams are in each division a Saturday game may be required. He also said in the event of rainouts, games may not be rescheduled because of time constraints.

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to avoid every scheduling conflict over the summer, to include 4-H fair,” he said. “We will be scheduling games the week of the fair.”

Ison also said team roster sizes may be expanded to allow flexibility for families to take planned summer trips without having to cancel games because of a lack of players.

“It will be our utmost importance to keep the kids and parents safe and ask everyone to follow the guidelines that will be issued to each player and each coach closer to the start of the season,” Ison said.

Ison’s Facebook post also said if a parent has registered their child and has since decided not to participate, a full refund, with exception for a credit card fee, will be issued. Those requests must be made my June 5.

If the season begins and must be halted because of a local spike in coronavirus cases, refunds will not be issued.

Ison said the PJL board of directors has been in close contact with Chet Franks, commissioner of Jay County Pee Wee Football, and Jay Community Center to ensure that seasons do not overlap.

“We want to try to get every kid an opportunity to do every activity,” Ison said.

Franks said there will be a few modifications to the pee wee schedule, most notably the registration period and season itself being pushed back a week.

The three-Saturday registration period will be July 18, 25 and Aug. 1. Teams will be drafted Aug. 2, and then a three-week preseason will begin for teams to practice. The preseason will be one week longer than normal.

“I think it’s going to be beneficial to the coaches, giving them an extra week to prepare,” Franks said.

As for ways to socially distance, Franks said he’s still going through logistical options since the league only plays on Saturdays, only has one field and is limited without lights.

On a normal Saturday, he said, the field is used from approximately 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. But if a change in the schedule must be made to accommodate fans, players and families coming and going while practicing social distancing, those Saturdays could be longer.

“It’s going to be a little bit of an inconvenience,” Franks said.

Franks reiterated that the plan is subject to change barring any surge in COVID-19 cases which may cause further local or statewide restrictions.

And Franks, who has been communicating with Jay School Corporation superintendent Jeremy Gulley, said pee wee football also hinges on the status of high school athletics.

“If Jay County doesn’t have a season then we don’t have a season,” Franks said. “That’s just something we can’t do.”