Kiski Area Golden Cavs take extra precautions in return to their home field

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020 | 2:03 PM


Since the start of the Western Pa. Baseball League season, the Kiski Area Golden Cavs have played games on the road.

In their first home game of the summer Monday, the Golden Cavs won in exciting fashion when IUP-bound Billy Perroz hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to push the Cavs past Highlands, 7-6.

But before the game got started, coach Aaron Albert was putting protocols into place to make sure they can keep hosting them.

“My athletic director asked me to present a plan, which we’re a summer team. We’re not a Kiski team,” Albert said. “But I had already worked through a lot of football stuff to get us back playing for football. So I took a lot of that stuff, and then I probably have to credit my wife, too, because she’s smarter than me and she looked up a lot of CDC stuff and other return-to-play stuff.”

When Kiski Area put its return-to-play plan in place a few weeks ago, it was in phases. For the first phase, only small groups of 10 athletes were allowed at one time. In the second phase, groups of 25 or more were allowed, so Albert waited until two weeks had passed to schedule any home games for his squad.

The second-year Kiski Area baseball coach also implemented several protocols around the field. He walked off 6-foot sections down the foul lines and behind the backstop and put big, white X’s in every other section.

He also turned the bleachers upside down, and both dugouts have hand sanitizer so players could wash their hands in between innings or at-bats. The team also sanitized balls before they went back into play. Fans and coaches are required to wear masks, and players are asked to wear masks from their car to the dugout.

“We had a lot of people who sat in the bed of their truck and put some chairs in there,” Albert said. “I think, honestly, that (the fans) understand we are trying to be safe, and they want to watch the game. Luckily, everyone wore their masks and sat where they were supposed to sit, and we’re going to try and do it again (Tuesday). Hopefully, it works out as well as it did last night.”

Albert and the Golden Cavs, ultimately, are looking to do whatever it takes to keep players, fans and coaches healthy so they can keep playing throughout the summer after their high school season was canceled in the spring.

“That’s what I told the kids, and I put a Facebook post out to the parents, too, saying, ‘I know the new normal isn’t great, and it’s not what it used to be and it stinks when it’s hot and you have to wear a mask,’ ” Albert said. “ ‘But the alternative is that we don’t play.’

“So if we didn’t abide by the rules, and Kiski didn’t let us use the field, (Monday) night would’ve never happened. That’s a memory that Billy will have forever and the senior class will have forever.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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