Prep Sports

With Iowa high school summer sports in limbo, #LetThemPlay social-media group gaining traction

More than 7,500 in a group hoping high school baseball and softball happens in Iowa this summer

An umpire brushes off home plate at a 4A regional baseball final with Cedar Rapids Prairie and Iowa City West at West Hi
An umpire brushes off home plate at a 4A regional baseball final with Cedar Rapids Prairie and Iowa City West at West High School in Iowa City on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Darren Lewis knows his voice is minimal. And he isn’t looking for a political debate.

“I just wanted to spread some hope and some positivity,” he said. “I thought, ‘What the heck? Let’s make a (Facebook) group.’”

That group, called #LetThemPlay, is hoping that there is a high school baseball and softball season in Iowa. That group, which started Saturday, now consists of more than 7,500 members.

“Our main hope is that they don’t rush to cancel the season too soon,” Lewis said.

Lewis is co-owner of D-BAT, a baseball/softball facility in Marion, which he hopes to reopen May 15.

His father is John Lewis, former baseball coach at Kirkwood Community college. Darren has kids of his own, at the college, high school and youth level.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union canceled spring sports, and summer sports are suspended until at least June 1.

The first day of practice for baseball and softball was supposed to be Monday.

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In a virtual forum Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said that it’s possible that Iowa high-schoolers will be able to participate in summer activities.

“That’s an encouraging thing,” Lewis said.

Even if the governor allows schools to resume activities, and even if the IHSAA and IGHSAU get summer sports going in June, some folks — maybe many — will think it’s too soon.

“At some point, somebody’s going to have to make a decision,” Lewis said. “If people are uncomfortable with their kid playing, I get it. If they pull their kid out, I get it.”

But ...

“If we have to sit in bag chairs, 40 feet apart, I’ll do it,” he said.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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