May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Planning for expanded Ryan Lemmon Showcase continues but hurdles remain

Players from the Trinity League are introduced before last year’s Ryan Lemmon Showcase. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Plans for an expanded Ryan Lemmon Showcase which would be open to all senior high school baseball players in Orange County are continuing, Guy Lemmon, president of the Ryan Lemmon Foundation said Sunday.

Lemmon believes that if the event can be held at least 500 players would be involved.

“We’ve communicated out to the coaches in each league one more time,” Lemmon said. “Each league is now responsible for reaching out to their senior players to determine who wants to play so if a senior is interested in playing in the showcase in one of the leagues he needs to reach his high school head coach and communicate through him.

“The Foundation is not signing up kids. The kids are going to sign up through their high school. The coaches in the league together will determine who goes on which teams.”

The tentative dates for the event are June 4, 5, 6 and 7 and officials are hoping to get the Orange County Great Park Stadium for all the games.

Lemmon has been meeting with Orange County coaches since the inception of the idea a couple weeks ago. He continued to stress that the event could only be held if the OK was given by state, county and local officials.

Currently, California is under a stay at home order by Gov. Gavin Newsom and group gatherings are not allowed. So Lemmon and officials with the Ryan Lemmon Showcase have some obstacles to overcome to make the games a reality. But Lemmon emphasized planning for an event with that many potential players had to begin.

“We need to get clearances from the state and county before we’re allowed to do anything and we’re just hoping by the time that comes, that we will have received necessary clearance to allow for the games to be played and hopefully before spectators, recognizing adequate social distancing and all of those kind of things,” Lemmon said. “We somewhat expect the city or the county to say, ‘you can do it, but under these conditions.’ When we know what those conditions are, we will act accordingly.”

It would serve as a final high school game for seniors who had their seasons cut short when the spring season was cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis.

University High shortstop Jackson LoBianco said he and his fellow seniors are holding out hope the game can be played.

“It’s been something we’ve all been looking forward to for these years,” LoBianco said. “I guess it’s just a waiting game and we have to wait for more information to come out.”

Lemmon and Dick Owens of the Foundation surveyed Orange County high school coaches and found out there are a lot of seniors who would be eligible, including 65 from the Crestview League, 70 from the Empire League, 50 from the Freeway League, 41 from the Golden West League, 38 from the Orange League, 58 from the Pacific Coast League, 118 from the Sea View and South Coast Leagues, 86 from the Sunset League and 54 from the Trinity League.

Some leagues could have up to four teams, Lemmon said. Lemmon said Orange County coaches fully support the plan.

“We’ll do it in a manner so that every kid will have an opportunity to play good innings,” Lemmon said. “Everyone of them has said this is a great idea and thank you for putting this together, this is something special, we really want to reconnect with the seniors.”

Lemmon said he’s not sure if fans would be allowed to attend but said having the games at the spacious Great Park Stadium would facilitate social distancing better than Ryan Lemmon Stadium, which was originally going to be the home stadium for the traditional showcase event.

Lemmon remains hopeful the event can be held. Lemmon said officials could receive clearance all the way up until June 2 to make the game a reality.

“We’re operating on the basis it’s going to happen, we’re having the coaches get everything prepared,” he said.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com

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