"Play ball!"

The crack of the bat, the snap of the glove, the thrill of running the ball is returning to local baseball diamonds in a modified format.

While it won't be the normal season that attracts 700 youth, Cochrane Minor Ball (CMB) is accepting registration until June 11 for their minor and major age groups for those ages 9 to 12.

For now, it will comprise of outdoor training and camps that follow guidelines of both Alberta Health Services and the Town of Cochrane.

Following registration, teams will be formed and training will begin around June 15. It will continue until late July. No games will be played until approved.

Organized play for the other age groups remains in limbo.

Whether intermediate, junior, and senior ball will return will be determined on June 22. Registration is not being accepted for Coach Pitch and its return will be determined on June 29.

Unfortunately, neither blast ball nor t-ball, for those ages 4 to 6, will be offered this season.

CMB president Corey O'How says they are seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel.

"Little League has done a lot of work to put processes and policies in place to do the things that we need to do to get the kids back on to the diamonds."

"We need to make the kids are aware of what those rules are and abide by them."

He says the youth are excited about the return of ball, even in its modified format.

"I think it's quite important for these kids to get out, get active and be around their friends and their peers, and to do something that they love," he says. "I think that will definitely help with kids' mental health and physical activity levels, and, you know, it will help parents, too. They'll be able to get out to see some of their friends."

Some major division players, though, are disappointed both the Little League nationals and world series have been canceled.

"They felt they had a real strong chance of getting to nationals, so there were some pretty sad kids."

In the meantime, CMB and district officials will continue to work with AHS in hopes of playing games at some point this summer.

"We're still hoping we'll still have some kind of competitive program maybe at the end of July and into August."