YOUNGSVILLE — The sounds of balls and gloves clapping in right field is music to the ears.
"It gave me such a sense of joy to see these kids come out," said manager Ricky Vanasselberg.
The Cane Cutters open their tenth season up on Tuesday night, hosting the Victoria Generals. A game that will come with free admission as the club looks to get back to "normal."
That was the word of the day Monday as players met with the media. It's a season that will surely be anything but.
"There are going to be new precautions we're going to have to take, but Skip and them have that in line and I'm sure everything will run smoothly," said Northwestern State catcher Marshall Skinner.
Limited capacity, social distancing and minimal contact between players will just be apart of the game this summer, which for many, will be the first live action the players have seen since March. A layoff that is almost foreign to athletes.
"I know a lot of guys who grew up playing multiple sports, sometimes you finish one season one day, and start the next sport the next day," said Southeastern infielder, Jacob Burke. "It was the weirdest time to not have a place to go play the sport we love."
The Texas Collegiate League is one of the few actually playing this season and it's temporarily expanded. Five minor league teams based in Texas are sponsoring clubs this summer. Acadiana will play one of those this weekend, the San Antonio Flying Chanclas.
The cancellation of many summer leagues inflated the player pool this spring with some high level talent. Vanasselberg said back in May he anticipated the most talented team he's put together. The Cane Cutters will suit up two LSU Tigers, outfielder Mitchell Stanford, and pitcher Ma'Khail Hillard, neither were made available to the media Monday; and a Cajun pitcher Blake Marshall. Local prep standouts Ethan Leger and Peyton Lejeune are also rostered this summer.
"This is definitely exciting to be able to come and play in front of friends and family," Lejeune, an infielder from LSUE said. "There are a lot of people who will be able to come and watch."
"They're from all types of different schools, but they've all played against each other, and some since they were young," said Vanasselberg. "Seeing the smiles on their faces interacting with each other, taking BP together, talking trash, that's big in baseball. It just felt like normal again."
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