The American Legion Department of Wisconsin has canceled its programming of American Legion Baseball within the state for the 2020 season.

The recommendation was made by the Wisconsin American Legion Baseball Association (WALBA) Board of Directors on a video conference Wednesday. The Department Executive Committee then made the final decision on Saturday. It marks the first time since 1927 the Department of Wisconsin will not crown an American Legion Baseball champion.

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising,” Marinette head coach Brian Lesandrini said. “As coaches, we anticipated that this was going to happen, even though we were obviously hoping for the best. I am absolutely sick for our seniors who won’t get to close out their last year of high school ball. I feel horrible for our two super-seniors, Nolan Lemke and Nick Teteak, who would be coming back from college and now can’t finish out their final years. And of course you feel bad for everyone across the state. It’s just a horrible situation.”

“This is a tough one and it’s going to hurt for a long time. I’ve been in baseball since I was five years old and it’s going to be different seeing a summer without baseball. We’ll miss seeing the parents, the grounds crew and everyone else who makes baseball in the summertime so special.”

After hearing the news of golf courses being allowed to open, Lesandrini was optimistic baseball would have a chance to be played, but the decision is final and he knows nothing can be done anymore.

“We were hoping that with golf courses opening up that maybe baseball would have a chance because other than in the dugout, we are pretty spread out,” Lesandrini said. “Obviously, they cancelled the season to keep everyone healthy and you just have to accept that decision and move forward, because it is out of our control.

“I suppose the best way to say it is that we can’t take anything for granted. All we can do is turn the page.”

A total of 217 teams participated in Wisconsin’s American Legion Baseball program in 2019, making it the fourth-largest program in the country, trailing only Minnesota (316 teams), Nebraska (271) and Pennsylvania (253).

The WALB All-Star Game scheduled for Aug. 9 at Miller Park in Milwaukee has also been canceled.

State tournaments in 2020 were scheduled for Sheboygan (Class AAA), Fort Atkinson (Class AA), Viroqua (Class A), Plover (17-Under) and Lomira-Theresa (16-Under).