HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A youth baseball academy is making adjustments to host a fall clinic amid the pandemic.

Nathan Sharp, who owns Soaring Eagles Baseball Academy in Huntersville, used to host baseball summer camps, but this year he’s adding a fall clinic.

Due to COVID-19, players are not using dugouts and coaches are reminding children to social distance.

“We have cones for everything. Cones are now my best friend to be able to keep the kids spaced apart,” Sharp says.

Face coverings are not mandatory, but players are welcome to wear them.

“I encourage that if it makes people feel comfortable. As for us, we try to keep our distance just by keeping our space from each other,” Sharp says.

Children are also taking their own beach towels to practice in order to keep their belongings separate. In addition, they are asked to take their own water bottles.

Regina Hartung has a son participating in the clinic. She’s grateful he has the opportunity to continue practicing baseball.

“The kids need something to be able to do, and this seems like a safe and natural option for him,” Regina says.

Hartung’s son, Alexander, is happy to socialize and to play a sport he loves.

“I don’t like…when I have to stay home for some reason, because I think it’s not fun because I have to stay home and do nothing,” Alexander explains.

For Sharp, providing this activity for children is very important.

“We want them to get better in baseball. We want to teach life lessons, build their character, but at the end of the day, we want kids to have a good time,” Sharp says. “This clinic and this camp brings these kids hope. It brings some sense of normality to their lives in such crazy times."

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommends anyone playing sports where close contact is possible, such as baseball or soccer, to do so outside, wear face coverings if it can be tolerated, and limit tournaments.