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The Sunflower Collegiate Baseball League, of which the Newton Rebels are a member, announced Friday that the start of the season has been pushed back until around June 15.


The announcement to push back the start of the season was made after the announcement of Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to step down restrictions in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.


"We are confident that a start date around June 15 will give us a realistic chance to get players in town, allow the virus to taper off and prepare to play a normal summer schedule of league games," the league release said. "We feel this is also ample time for the state to progress into ‘Phase 2’ of the governor’s outlined plan, which allows sports and tournaments to take place. On the flip side, we are aware there are things out of our control that may require us to cancel the season. Obviously that is not what we want to do, but we know it is still a possibility."


The release also said making sure pitchers are in shape will be a concern.


"One of the biggest factors in the delay is making sure pitcher are in shape to have higher pitch counts without being rushed, we don’t want to take chances with players that haven’t been playing," the release said.


The league anticipates a schedule of between 32 and 40 games for each team with the possibility of some non-league games.


The Rebels were scheduled to open the season May 28 with a three-game road trip to McPherson, Park City and Valley Center.


The new target date comes in the middle of a five-game series against the Andale Warhawks. June 15 was a home date with the June 16 game scheduled for Eck Stadium in Wichita. However, the whole schedule is subject to revision.