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Heat postpones baseball games at PONY tournament

Friday’s scorching heat forced several postponements of PONY Section tournament baseball games, including the one between Newport Beach Baseball Assn. and Fountain Valley at Oak Knoll Park in Cypress.

Local teams in the 14-and-under Pony, 11-and-under Bronco and 9-and-under Mustang divisions are now mandated to play games either earlier in the morning on Saturday or just before dark to avoid the most oppressive temperatures.

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Jerry Rodriguez, the on-field director in Cypress, made the final call after several high-heat warnings in the wake of 110-plus degree weather.

“We had players from the younger divisions start to feel uncomfortable,” Rodriguez said. “I decided to make that call after discussions with our regional director Lonnie Smith.”

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Smith, also a baseball coach at Western High in Anaheim, outlined PONY’s basic policy for dealing with excessive heat.

“We always call to our teams with a heat warning,” he said, “which includes emphasis on hydration. Basically, no soda or energy drinks for kids in the hours before the game. After that, I leave postponements up to the best judgment of my directors, like Jerry.”

“It’s a long summer,” he continued, “and we don’t need to rush our games. We can mitigate for these types of days with things like hydration coaches, but we have time to play the games in the safest conditions possible.”

So far, the following games for local teams have been rescheduled:

The Newport Beach and Fountain Valley All-Stars of the 11-and-under region now start at 8 a.m. Saturday morning at Oak Knoll Park. The Newport Harbor Baseball Assn. team for the same age group faces Cypress right after at 10:30 a.m. at the same location.

First pitch for the Newport Beach 14-and-under All Stars is now slated for 9 a.m. Saturday, also at Oak Knoll Park.

For additional information and updates on PONY’s Southern California Central Regional Tournaments, go to www.pony.org.

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