BENNINGTON — The Bennington 12 and under Little League all-star team’s state title aspirations came to an abrupt end Wednesday morning as the team officially withdrew from the tournament.
A player tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, forcing the team to end its chase as all Bennington players were deemed close contacts.
“Yesterday morning the bad news came through, immediately following the test results,” Bennington Little League President Geoff Metcalfe said on Wednesday morning.
With every player on the roster exposed, Bennington simply does not have enough players to field a team. Metcalfe said the team has “some players that are vaccinated, some that are not.”
Under current U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, those unvaccinated players must wait seven days after the exposure before being allowed to play. Bennington was scheduled to play Addison County at 6 p.m. Friday.
“I spent half my day yesterday just trying to figure out, is there any way to make this happen,” Metcalfe said. “There was a part of me that felt like the guys up north, probably out of empathy, would have said let’s make it so that these guys can play.”
“But to Little League’s credit, they don’t put people in that position to make that decision. They just say absolutely not, this is the schedule and that’s what you have to stick to unless for some reason, Mother Nature says no.”
The Bennington player was not considered a close contact to the other teams. He is doing well, according to Metcalfe.
“It’s contained, the parents were super bright about how they approached everything,” he said. “The most important thing is everyone’s healthy. None of this matters in the big scheme of things when it comes to the kids’ health and people’s health.
Bennington has played host to the tournament, but talks are ongoing about moving the remainder of play to the northern part of the state.
“We’re going to close our facility for a week because I don’t want to put any other kids at risk,” Metcalfe said.
Essex Town and Addison County will battle it out for the Vermont title and a spot in the New England Regional tournament in Bristol, Conn.