MANKATO — It was bound to happen, and some team was going to be first.
The Waterville amateur baseball team has been shut down for two weeks because five of its players have tested positive for coronavirus.
“We did everything we could, followed all the protocols established by the state,” Waterville manager Sam Stier said. “I think it’s probable that those players were exposed outside of baseball. It’s tough to be the first (team) to have a positive case.”
Waterville had a game on June 19, and after that, one of the players tested positive for coronavirus. The rest of the team was then tested and four more players were positive, though asymptomatic.
That means the team had to halt its schedule for 14 days. Stier said that the players will be tested again, and all tests must be negative before they can resume the season.
“We want to do what’s best for the safety of everyone,” Stier said.
The Minnesota Baseball Association, which governs amateur baseball, had a conference call Monday to reinforce protocol for players and teams after someone has tested positive. Each team in Minnesota was emailed the current COVID-19 regulations.
Any player who tests positive must let their manager and the MBA know immediately and seek the care of their healthcare provider. That player will not be able to have any contact with their team until the MBA receives written approval from their doctor. All team members also will be ineligible to practice or play games until given written approval by their doctor.
All COVID-19 people on the checklist for that game — teammates, coaches, umpires, opponents, field workers, concession staff — are to be contacted immediately.
Anyone who may have come in contact with a COVID-19-positive person, or who is experiencing symptoms, is required to seek immediate medical care. Anyone withholding information or falsifying documents will be subject to sanctions by the MBA.
The five Waterville players will have to sit out for 14 days, as well as teammates, umpires and opponents, unless they can provide a negative nasal swab test.
All teams involved in a game with known COVID-19 exposure must send one email with all players proven negative test results before resuming practice or games. As of now, Waterville will miss six games, with the next game scheduled for July 8.
The season officially began on Sunday, though several teams were able to schedule games out of state and before the official opening date, but it’s already been a shortened season because of the pandemic.
“There were no known positive (tests) in any game we played,” Stier said. “No symptoms. As soon as we had a positive test, we shut everything down.”
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.