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County Little League teams struggle to secure permits

Maui County Little League baseball teams are still striving to get on to the field this summer, although the requirements to get there are daunting, according to Hawaii State District III coordinator Ernest Delima.

Mayor Michael Victorino announced on June 9 that practices for some outdoor sports could begin on June 15, but no Little League teams — and few, if any others — have been able to meet the rules and permit processes set down by Maui County Parks and Recreation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maui County Little League teams are still hopeful of playing some sort of regular seasons for Junior (13-14) and Senior (15-16) division teams. Games are allowed to begin on July 1 as long as permits and social distancing plans are approved by the parks department.

“Central East Maui and Maui Up Country are unable to extend or apply for new permits to gain field access,” Delima said in an email to The Maui News on Saturday. “District 3 permits have expired on June 5 for field access to both Maui High and Eddie Tam (field) and due to no process being available to request additional field time we are unable to conduct practice under Phase 1 reopening conditions.”

Delima said that “Kihei Little League remains permitted at this time and will conduct practices under Phase 1 starting Monday following the guidelines required by the Parks Department.”

Other leagues are having a tougher time getting back to the field.

“West Maui Little League is unable to request any additional field time and have permits that have expired,” Delima wrote. “No further Little League activities can happen in West Maui at this time.

“Lanai and Molokai Little League continue to work with the Parks Departments on their respective islands to see if they can meet the minimum requirements to return to the field.”

There is still hope that Maui County all-star tournaments can be played in July for all divisions.

“District Tournaments at this time remain pending as we are not permitted to conduct tournaments in the month of August,” Delima said. “We have asked and applied for field time at various locations, however, we may have to reapply on July 1.

“We continue to want to offer Little League activities to Maui’s youth and will put in our best effort to try and accomplish that for the 2020 season.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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