Verona Home Talent - Luke Yapp

Verona’s Luke Yapp (left) is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a go-ahead solo home run against Sauk Prairie during last year’s Sunday League championship game. The Cavaliers will not defend their back-to-back titles after the team declared it will be inactive for the 2020 season.

Provided the 2020 Home Talent baseball season goes off without a hitch, there will be a new Sunday League champion.

The two-time defending champion Verona Cavaliers announced Saturday, June 20, on the team’s Twitter account that the squad will be inactive for this summer.

“After much deliberation and consideration, we regret to inform everyone that the Verona Cavaliers will be INACTIVE for the 2020 HTL Season,” the post said. “With the uncertainty of Dane County’s phase 3 plan and the recommended HTL guidelines, we feel it won’t be the same HTL we love.”

Phase 2 of Forward Dane took effect in the county on June 15. The county will remain in the current phase for a minimum of two weeks.

To move to Phase 3, Public Health Madison and Dane County needs two full weeks of coronavirus data from June 15-28 in addition to several days to compile data from that time period. A decision will then be made to move on to Phase 3 or stay in Phase 2.

Verona does not have approval to use Stampfl Field until Phase 3 of the Forward Dane plan. Since the country is still in Phase 2 and the field is owned by the City of Verona, the Cavaliers would have had to find a new home ballpark or play all of its games on the road until Phase 3 began.

Typically, inactive teams have to go through a process to become active again. Teams have five years to return as active members and must be approved by the Home Talent League Executive Board.

However, the league could make an exception to the rule due to COVID-19.

“I’m pretty positive that we’ll be good to go for next year,” Verona player-manager David Lund said. “I don’t think the league will fault teams who don’t want to play this year because of the pandemic.”

The HTL Executive Board suspended Thursday Night League games this season, but approved a shortened 10-game Sunday League schedule in all four sections that will begin July 4 weekend. The playoffs would feature four or six teams from each section instead of the usual eight teams. The league plans to hold a “final four” single-game elimination championship series Sept. 13 and 20 if possible. The traditional championship series is a round-robin format.