SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With Little League Baseball and Softball canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, some kids have been getting in their swings at the East Beach Batting Cages in Santa Barbara.
"I was really sad when the season got canceled,” youth baseball player Nate Meister said. “It's just really making up for all the time I missed playing baseball."
With his business hit hard by the pandemic, owner John Cox has been relying on regulars to fill up the facility.
"With Little League shutdown, we don't have the big teams that we normally have,” Cox said. “But there are some diehard hitters who are coming several times a week just to keep their skills up for when the season eventually comes around."
Most kids are enjoying getting to safely socialize with their friends.
"Right now it's not really about playing games,” youth baseball Griffin Arnold said. “It's about just having fun and getting out here and playing baseball."
Safety remains a high priority with enforced physical distancing and face coverings mandatory outside the cages.
"We still want to limit crowds, so we'll count the number of people,” Cox said. “Make sure the crowds aren't really too big."
Bats and helmets are also rigorously cleaned between each guest.
Most parents appreciate the outdoor activity.
"It's great to have a facility that's open, convenient and of course it's easy to distance here,” Brian Pearce said.
As one of the only family entertainment centers open in Santa Barbara County, the batting cages is allowing youngsters to sharpen their skills.
"To hit with my teammates and just have somewhere to play baseball,” Arnold said. “It's very good."
"You get to see all your teammates, get to get better at baseball and we're like not home,” Meister said.
For more information about the East Beach Batting Cages, visit their website.