May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Plans for expanded Ryan Lemmon Showcase scrapped because of coronavirus crisis

Corona del Mar players were among those taking part in last year’s showcase. (File photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Plans for an expanded Ryan Lemmon Senior Showcase which would have been open to all senior high school baseball players in Orange County ended Thursday because of continuing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, according to officials with the Ryan Lemmon Foundation.

No fields would be available in time for the event, officials, including organizer Guy Lemmon of the foundation, were told. It’s the first time in 24 years a showcase will not be held.

There were more than 450 players who could have played in the event and organizers had hoped to have it at the Orange County Great Park Baseball Stadium June 4, 5, 6 and 7, according to Dick Owens of the Ryan Lemmon Foundation.

Officials had been in contact with county and Irvine city officials and had a long conversation with city officials Wednesday to see if they could hold the event.

“Unfortunately, the answer is that the fields will not be open in time for the event,” according to a statement from the foundation. “This comes from state, county and city officials.

“The earliest would be in July for Irvine fields and Cal State Fullerton. With that information we will not have a Senior Showcase for the first time in 24 years. Needless to say this is not the outcome we were seeking. We do understand their point of view and we would never want to jeopardize anyone’s health.”

Officials said they are looking forward to continuing leagues run by the foundation in the fall.

“The foundation will continue to work to bring you fall/ winter leagues, futures league (incoming freshmen and sophomores), spring tournament, sophomore and senior showcase,” according to the release.

“We know we are going to face challenges in our leagues and will make sure we are following all state, county and local guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The event was being organized by Guy Lemmon and Owens of the Foundation. Lemmon said he hoped to make it happen as a final sendoff for seniors who saw their seasons end early when spring sports were cancelled.

“We’ll do it in a manner so that every kid will have an opportunity to play good innings,” Lemmon said in an earlier interview. “Everyone of them (coaches) 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.”

At the same time, Lemmon said he was well aware of the obstacles that were ahead in actually having the event.

All coaches who were involved in the event received an email from the foundation on Thursday explaining the reasons for the cancellation. They were all thanked for their efforts in helping the foundation compile rosters.

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