Columbus Northern Little League playing for spot in World Series despite impacts of COVID

Sports

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Columbus Northern Little League all-stars are one win away from the Williamsport and a trip to the Little League World Series.

It looks like Little League baseball, but in a COVID pandemic, things are different. Northern is playing Florida for a spot in the regional final. The game is on ESPN2.

The 13 Northern players and three coaches have been in isolation when they have not been on the field.

One Southeast Regional team was knocked out after a player tested positive for COVID.

Manager Will Thompson tells News 3 the kids are taking the off-the-field precautions seriously so they can perform on-the-field magic like a 6-run comeback against Tennessee in the last inning Saturday.

“It’s been very stressful – let me tell you,” Thompson said. “Even the kids, Chuck, are nervous about it. We are wearing masks everywhere we go. And we really have been in a bubble. We have not been around anybody but the 16 of us.”

That lack of contact has extended to parents.

“Parents, after the games we are not seeing them,” Thompson said. “They are staying 6 to 10 feet apart from us. We are shuttling around. Some of the boys, this is the first time they have ever been away from their parents.”

There is no general admission and less than 500 fans in the stands. Each team received 250 tickets and neither appeared to use the full allotment.

The top two teams in the regional go to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. That is different from past years. There will 16 U.S. teams and no international teams because of COVID.

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