Home Sports Local Sports ’56 Lions Hondo team record safe another year

’56 Lions Hondo team record safe another year

Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Photo Pictured are the 1956 Little League World Series champions Lions-Hondo team. Front row, from left, are Teddy Garrett, Jimmy Valdez, David Sherrod, Randy Willis and Harold Hobson. Middle row, from left, are Guy Bevill, Dick Storey, Albert Palamino and Mike Sandry. Back row, from left, are Bill Turley, Ferrell Dunham, Blaine Stribling, Tommy Jordan and David Smith.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Try as he may, Noon Optimist president Steve Dodson is holding out hope at getting the 2020 little league season in. Earlier in the month after the governor’s directives, Dodson sent out a letter about the cancellation of the Little League World Series and the cancellation of All-Star games, which RDR Sports will run in its entirety.

Dodson talked about waiting until the New Mexico Department of Health’s decision and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s speech on May 15. Depending on the outcome of the speech, Dodson and the Noon Optimist board of directors will meet on May 16 and make an announcement by May 19.

“I’m still hoping to get a season in,” Dodson said. “A lot of teams have given up, but I think it is important to try to play if possible. Since we do not have the constraints of the Little League World Series or the All-Star games, we can start a little later at the end of May and start in June, and still get in a 12-14 game season. I realize we can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

If the governor says it is safe to play, Dodson believes the league could be up and running after going through paperwork logistics and to find out who still wants to play. Some kids have moved out of the state and the teams would need a week of practice before games could begin. What Dodson will not do is have the league interfere with school or the starting of fall ball.

“Let’s be clear on this,” Dodson said, “little league is truly clear about this, we can’t do anything unless the state and the local government agree. We cannot defy the governor. At the end of the day, whatever they tell us we have to do, we’ll do.”

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If the little league season can play, Dodson believes they could still have an All-Star team, with Lincoln, Otero, Chaves and Eddy counties, which is big, they play teams from Alamogordo, Artesia, Hagerman and Mescalero and face All-Stars from the other southern districts in District II and have a championship for a district title and a regional title with Carlsbad.

Currently, Dodson is being told that New Mexicans are in phase II, and he believes if that is the case, it could be late October before the governor allows any sports, or it could be later.

Dodson’s letter to

little league, Lions Hondo and

Noon Optimist

district administrators:

“In a video update broadcast yesterday afternoon (April 30), Little League President Stephen D. Keener announced the cancellation of the World Series and Region tournaments. While unprecedented, neither cancellation was unexpected due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Notably, as reiterated in the official press release, district and state-level tournament play may still be possible as local conditions warrant. This announcement has several possible implications for Noon Optimist Little League; the most obvious of which is the nullification of any possible All-Star bid to Waco, Texas, or Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

“Less obvious, but perhaps more germane to our situation, the cancellation of these two tournaments suddenly frees up more time for local leagues to reopen and play their own regular season. Traditionally, All-Star teams could be announced on June 1 with district tournaments beginning shortly thereafter.

“This long-established June 1 deadline drove Little League schedulers everywhere to end their regular season before or around this date so their teams could compete in tournament play. With the cancellation of the World Series and regional tournaments, this bookend has effectively been eliminated, allowing each state the opportunity to schedule tournament play — or not — at a timing that best suits their situation. Given our delayed start to this season, more time to play is definitely a positive development.

“That said, no new decisions have been made for our season this year. We are in active conversations with league and district officials and still believe a season is possible sometime after May 15. The good news is Chaves County and the rest of southeast New Mexico remain relatively unaffected by the pandemic. As we earnestly resume planning for this season, please continue to ‘stay safe at home’ and abide by the Department of Health’s directives so that we may exit the preparation phase on schedule and enter phase I of our state’s gradual reopening.”

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.


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