TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Baseball is coming back to northeast Mississippi.
When the coronavirus outbreak hit, baseball and softball players from across the country had their seasons taken away.
On Friday Junior and Senior legion teams will compete for the first time in months.
They say baseball is America's past time, well according to some of the players from the Tupelo 49ers, it's past time that baseball returns.
"Getting back out on the field, playing the game you love with some of your friends, can't get better than that," 49ers pitcher and 1st baseman Caleb Goddard said.
Goddard was one of the many seniors who missed out on playing their final season of high school baseball, but making the 49ers team gave him a much needed morale boost.
"It's like, the last high school games you didn't know you weren't going to get to play are gone and out the window," Goddard said. "This is something to look forward to, so that's a big plus."
49ers catcher Reed Shackelford is entering his senior year at Ripley. Two of his teammates on the Tigers were seniors. One of them he gets to play with again this summer.
"The rest of our high school season was taken away, so it's big to be able to play with a bunch of guys that I know," Shackelford said. "Just being out there behind the plate, catching and hopefully we win."
The American Legion actually canceled the 2020 season. 49ers coach Mckinley Holland and other coaches in the area decided to formulate their own leagues to get their players back on the field.
"When they canceled, we all kind of got together," Holland said. "Teams that we haven't played before have reached out and said, 'Hey, we're still playing and if you guys want to play, we'd love to have you, love to come to you.'"
Even though coaches, players, and fans are ready to go and play ball, Holland and organizers are ensuring that spectators and players abide by the health guidelines put into place by the state during the tournaments. That includes an increase in hand santizer stations, volunteers will have masks and gloves on, but Holland asks fans to do their part as well.
"We've got plenty of room for people to social distance," Holland said. "We ask that you bring your chairs, stay six apart and enjoy the game because we're happy to see them here too, just like they're happy to see baseball."
The Juniors kick things off Friday at 5:30 p.m. with the Seniors following at 7:30 at the baseball field by Tupelo Middle School. The collegiate Cotton States League in New Albany is also playing its first games of the summer at BNC Park at 5 p.m.