May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Ryan Lemmon Showcase could be expanded to include every senior if officials deem it safe

Trinity League players from Santa Margarita and JSerra were among those who took part in last year’s Ryan Lemmon Showcase. (File photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

With concerns about the possible cancellation of the rest of the high school baseball season, officials with the Ryan Lemmon Foundation have begun plans for a larger showcase in June if government officials lift the ban on public gatherings and deem it to be safe.

The Foundation is considering expanding its annual Ryan Lemmon Baseball Showcase to include seniors from every Orange County high school baseball team, Guy Lemmon, president of the foundation told OC Sports Zone Tuesday.

This year’s 25th annual showcase was scheduled to feature players from 10 leagues June 5, 6 and 7 at Windrow Park in Irvine.

But if spring sports are cancelled by the CIF State Office because of concerns about the coronavirus, the showcase could be expanded to include the rest in the county if government officials lift the ban on public gatherings and deem that it is safe for players to resume athletics. Lemmon said he would like to see the event at the Orange County Great Park Stadium.

The CIF State Office is scheduled to meet on April 3 to discuss the future of spring sports. On Tuesday, both the Irvine Unified School District and Orange Unified School District extended school closures into May, making it more difficult for spring sports to resume. No decision on resumption of athletics has been made in either district. If the CIF decides to extend the spring season, the expanded showcase would likely not be held, Lemmon said.

“We will reach out to all head coaches in 10 days regarding dates, location, format, etc.,” Lemmon said. “During this unique time, our utmost priority for everyone involved is their health, safety and well being.

“Our event, while being planned, will only take place after clearance from various local, county, state health public agencies and the CIF Southern Section.”

Lemmon said about eight high school coaches will meet Saturday to discuss the possible event, which could be spaced over three or four days.

Currently, Gov. Gavin Newsom has prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people and residents have been ordered to stay at home except for going out for essential services. The ban would have to be lifted for the games to be played.

“The idea is rather than taking a select few from each league, this would be all inclusive and honor every senior who didn’t get a chance to play their full season,” Lemmon said.

“The exact location and the exact date and the exact time is going to be predicated on the authority that public agencies will give us to allow clearance to have access to fields to have social gatherings and we’re definitely going to be cognizant of public safety and public health and we think that there is a window of time and as long as they drop the flag and they say it’s OK to gather, we want to ready to immediately move into our training phase before we have our game phase.”

The training phase would be required because, if spring sports are cancelled, players would need time to get ready again.

“It’s also something to give coaches and players to give them a heads up there is possibly something to look forward to,” Lemmon said.

The event could be held the weekend after Memorial weekend or later in June, Lemmon said.

“We will start it as soon as public agencies give us the clearance to gather,” Lemmon said. “But that’s the reality.”

Lemmon noted that all fields in Orange County, including the Greatr Park, are closed.

Some organizations appear to be looking at holding events without fans.

“That will be up to the players and the coaches,” Lemmon said when asked if the event would go on without fans. “That will evolve. If the players and coaches want to do it, then that’s what we will do.”

Lemmon said he realizes that organizers may not get an OK for the event, but that planning has to begin sooon if it is to be held. He noted that he and his organization have been planning showcases for 24 years. The events have become popular among Orange County players and coaches.

RELATED: Coaches react to proposal from Ryan Lemmon Foundation

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