GHSA Softball Starts this Week, New COVID-19 Gameday Rules


The Northside softball team is joining a new Region 2-AAAAA with new opponents. They will also debut new dugouts, a backstop, lockerrooms and scoreboard this fall. The Lady Patriots will show off their field this Friday at the Northside Invitational Tournament.

“We went from chain-link dugouts to the brick dugouts,” said Northside Head Coach Brandon Jenkins. “They’re probably almost twice the size of our old dugouts. It turned out to be great with COVID-19 and the restrictions they’re placing on us as far as what we can do in the dugout. The fact that we do have these dugouts is huge.”

The Patriots are hosting Harris County, Marion County, Houston County and Lee County. Life inside the dugout will look a lot different.

“The players have to be separated 6-feet apart in the dugout. We have these masks,” said Jenkins. “The coaches always have to wear them, but when players come in on defense they’ll have these on the whole time and just pull them up.”

On the field there are new rules for handling game balls. Visiting teams will shag foul balls and pitchers must bring the ball back to the dugout after the third out. One of the major changes has to do with celebrations.

“Big rule is you’re not allowed to celebrate home runs, so we broke the news to the girls and they’re not real happy,” said Jenkins. “I told them let’s have fun with it.”

Fans should expect limited attendance this year, and some schools are encouraging social distancing by not even bringing out their bleachers.

“There’s a lot of places, including us, who don’t have their bleachers in right now,” said Jenkins. “Parents need to bring their lawn chairs.”

Despite the tighter rules changes, playing the game in any capacity is worth it for athletes and coaches.

“We’re all really excited about having a chance to start this week,” said Jenkins. “We’re not going to let anything change that, so if they want us to stay 20-feet apart we will just so we can play softball.”

The Patriots play their first game at the Northside Invitational on Friday, August 7 at 4 p.m. EST against Houston County.

Categories: Georgia Sports, High School