Drew Freitag

With his college season shortened, Beloit College’s Drew Freitag hopes to log some innings in the RRL.

Play ball!

Barring last-minute changes, those words will ring true for at least one area amateur baseball team this weekend.

The Milton Junction Pub Raptors are set to begin their Rock River League regular season with a road game against Neosho at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

While many RRL and Home Talent League teams have been gearing up for the delayed start of their seasons with scrimmages or exhibitions over the past several weekends, Sunday’s game will mark the first for an area team that counts toward league standings.

“As hard as we’ve tried, we haven’t been able to come up with a preseason game,” Milton manager Doug Welch said. “So we’ve had a couple practices this week and then we’ll head up to Neosho.

“Of course, they are one of the better teams in the league and somebody that we’ve been nip and tuck with in a pretty good rivalry. We’ll go in there without a game under our belts and see how it goes.”

The Raptors were scheduled to take on Fort Atkinson, of the HTL, in an exhibition last week. But Fort canceled that game after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

The HTL is not scheduled to begin its postponed season until next weekend. Even so, the positive case out of Fort Atkinson has led managers in both area leagues to wonder what might happen if player from one of the leagues’ teams tests positive once the regular season is underway.

Some teams are also still dealing with their home ballparks still currently falling under closures or capacity restrictions.

Milton plays at Schilberg Park, which is run by the school district, which has closed facilities at least through June 30. Evansville plays at Leota Park, which cannot be used at least until Rock County’s reopening procedures reach Phase 3.

“Dodge County (which includes Neosho) has a little bit more looseness with some of their villages about park usage, so they’ve been able to host games in accordance with the guidelines,” Welch said.

If the season gets rolling as planned, Welch believes his Raptors team should be a contender in the Rock River League.

Milton’s roster includes several eager college players who saw their spring seasons canceled due to coronavirus, including Beloit Memorial products Drew Freitag and Kevin Raisbeck.

“We should have some pretty accomplished ballplayers on the field,” Welch said. “We’ll probably be as talented as we have been in a couple years if this thing holds true, and that’s a reason why we’re excited to get going.”