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Covid-19 Cancels Quakertown Blazers' Season
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-06-03

            On the same day the Quakertown Blazers were scheduled to open the 2020 season, the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League canceled its season. League officials made the announcement Saturday on its website. By a 9-4 vote, team owners and league officers decided against moving forward due to concerns over COVID-19. Blazers owner George Bonekemper voted against playing an abbreviated season.

            "I voted no because of the restrictions," he said.

            According to Bonekemper, playing with current social distancing requirements would have been nearly impossible. He said dugouts are not nearly large enough at Memorial Park Stadium.

            "I don't think the field is available," said Bonekemper, who added that social distancing rules would have allowed only 25 spectators per game.

            After examining state and local authority guidelines, league officials determined it would be extremely challenging to operate efficiently while maintaining the health and safety of players, umpires and spectators, according to a statement from league commissioner Angelo Fiore.

            "Regrettably, at this time I have to inform everyone the 2020 Summer Season is officially canceled," Fiore said, according to the statement, posted on the league and team websites.

Bonekemper, who has held multiple front office roles with the team since it relocated from Allentown in 1983, hopes to take a reduced role. He said new people are needed to handle the logistics necessary to field a successful team.

            "I don't know what the future holds," said Bonekemper, a former teacher and administrator in the Upper Perkiomen School District who turns 78 on July 16. "I feel so bad for the kids who are not going to get a chance to play ball."

            The Blazers - who were slated to open their 37th season Saturday with a doubleheader against the Ocean Osprey in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ - signed several local players. They included shortstop Jake Reed, third baseman Dennis Pierce, catcher/outfielder Mason Hicks and first baseman/outfielder Trevor Leamer, all of Quakertown. Infielder Nolan Bolton and pitcher Blaise Scalfini both graduated from Souderton. The roster also included several players from the Pioneer Athletic Conference.

            "This franchise has a bright future," Bonekemper said. "With the retraction of minor league baseball, a lot of professional scouts will be turning to summer leagues to find players."


 

 

 

 

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