(WFRV) – Baseball is back in Green Bay as the Booyah prepare for their season opener on July 1st.
A total of ten players are back from last year’s team, that includes Appleton native Jack Mahoney. Last year the UW-MIlwaukee starter pitched the Booyah’s first no-hitter. Now he’s back for more after sitting out the last three months.
“It’s awesome. Just getting back to playing baseball. The Northwoods League is one of the only leagues this summer playing baseball, and to be able to go back to where I played last summer, it’s honestly a blessing,” said Jack Mahoney.
There was a chance no Northwoods memories would be made this year. That’s with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling many college wood bat league’s around the country, most notably the Cape Cod League. The Northwoods League on the other hand is taking the field in “pods” to get players on the field in some fashion.
“Most gratifying feeling you can have. You’re not used to being shut down for three months. It feels normal when we’re out there. Just doesn’t feel normal outside the field,” said manager Tom Carty.
Almost the entire Booyah roster had their college seasons cut short due to the pandemic. The one exception, Ben Hampton of West De pere, whose senior year of high school baseball never even started.
“Very excited, very blessed that I have all the great coaches and all these older guys that can lead by example and help me out, get me ready for college. I think this is awesome for me. I’m extremely lucky,” said Ben Hampton.
Hampton, Mahoney, and Kaukauna grad Grant Emme are just some of the local talent joining part in a great experiment. Getting sports back on the field with family, friends, and even fans in the stands, at least in limited numbers.
“The extremes in anything is not good, completely shutdown or completely open, so we’re trying to do what’s in the middle and be as safe as we possibly can,” said Carty.
“It’s a great privilege to come out here and play some baseball in front of fans that are looking for something to do, and have some fun. We get to come out here every day and do what we love, it’s pretty special,” said Grant Emme.
At just 48 games it will be a short summer, but one to be remembered.