Baseball has always been America’s game. And for many organizers of youth baseball in Vilas and Oneida counties, imagining a summer without baseball is a hard prospect.

“My kids love baseball, and I love baseball. Our family loves baseball,” said Jim Koshuta of Three Lakes. “I want my kids to be able to go out and play this summer, but is it worth it? It’s one of the questions that keeps me up at night just wondering.”

Koshuta isn’t alone with his feelings.

Along with Three Lakes-Phelps varsity coach Tyler Lorenz, Northland Pines head coach Peter Aerts and youth baseball organizers Jim Beyer, Phil Hahn and Josh Tilley in Eagle River, the questions are all the same.

“There is a lot of gray area,” said Tilley. “I am hesitant, personally, and others are, too. So we’re in a holding pattern.”

As the situation continues to be assessed, a summer without baseball is a very real possibility for some players, coaches, families and spectators.

“We’re all looking at things from a different perspective, that’s for sure,” said Tilley. “We have a lot of personal responsibility, both at home and professionally, to make sure we’re doing our part. And we want to keep that perspective.”

The lifting of the state’s Safer At Home order last week sent a lot of plans into spin cycle, according to Tilley, who said in Eagle River there are still a lot of different opinions on what direction the youth organization should take.

“We’ve had some within our organization who have said they’re not going to have their kids take part at all, and then we’ve had some that are saying, ‘Let’s start tomorrow,’ ” he said. “And that’s fine. You’re going to have different opinions. But for us we have to wait and see what the next month brings.

“We’re waiting to get through June and if things look good there, do something for July and maybe even August. August could be limited with other sports happening, but we want to work alongside them, not against them.”

Koshuta said the youth organization in Three Lakes is doing much the same, continuing to assess daily as information available to them changes, seemingly as fast as they get it.

“We want to discuss what the best course of action is, and look hard at the benefit and risk. And I don’t even know what that is right now. A?lot of people are in the same boat,” said Koshuta. “My thought is, I think, the same as Eagle River is — push things as late in the summer as we can — but I don’t want to give anyone any false hope. We don’t know what to tell parents right now because we don’t know what’s coming. We don’t want to risk anyone’s health.”

Both Three Lakes and Eagle River groups manage summer baseball for children as young as the age of 5 all the way through high school, which means working in step with a number of youth coaches as well as each varsity coach.

For Aerts and Lorenz, their efforts are aimed at July as they each try to assemble some sort of contact with their players as allowed through the WIAA.

“Right now we’re moving ahead with the proposal from the WIAA along with schools in Rhinelander, Antigo and Lakeland,” said Lorenz. “A few Northern Lakes Conference schools have expressed interest, but most can’t give exact numbers on how many kids they’d even have.”

The WIAA?has said that spring sports have the month of July to assemble, and after meeting all practice requirements can begin playing games as usual, should they decide to do so.

Lorenz admits that the situation there could also easily change.

“We could get to July and be right where we are now,” he said. “Nobody really knows, but we’re getting a plan in place in hopes we can get some sort of baseball season together.”

Tilley said in Eagle River they’ll discuss again as weeks move along if they can stay on schedule with a plan, understanding fully that the impacts of no baseball means something different for each age level.

“I know Peter (Aerts) especially is a little worried because if you lose a year with the younger ages, you probably get them back. But when kids get older and they miss an entire year, it’s harder to get them back,” said Tilley. “We want to take a look at the health department statement a little more closely and decide what the right thing to do is, not necessarily just what we can do.”

Tilley said his group will send an email out to parents this week to gauge interest should the group offer some sort of baseball in the months of July and August. He said responses there will likely push the decision.

“We have to find out if there is interest,” he said. “So we’ll send out some questions and get a quick survey to see who’s even interested. Some people may want to just stay away for a year, and that’s just fine.”

Managing things within the community leagues can also be a balancing act as players are also waiting to hear what is being done with the area Northwoods Babe Ruth League headquartered in Rhinelander. That league includes teams from Merrill, Tomahawk, Minocqua, Eagle River, Rhine­lander and Crandon.

“Obviously with that many communities involved there are going to be a lot of different opinions and a lot of different ways people are dealing with this,” said Tilley. “So we really are just waiting right now in hopes of getting on more solid ground in the coming weeks.”

Tilley said in Eagle River there are a large group of 13-year-olds and a handful of 14-year-olds who are going to be looking to play somewhere.

“But there are still a lot of questions with the Babe Ruth kids because of so many other communities being involved,” he said. “Everyone is trying to do what they feel is best for their league, their kids and their community. So we have a lot of different opinions we’re trying to weigh out right now.”

Lorenz said what many coaches echoed.

“As a baseball coach this is about the worst situation you could imagine,” Lorenz said a week ago. “And I?can’t imagine what the kids must be going through. However it’s what we’re dealing with so we just try as best we can to give these kids some sort of baseball, albeit maybe only a few weeks, or even days.”

And Koshuta said in the end, Three Lakes will do what they feel is best for their community.

“My mom always said, ‘If you see someone jumping off a bridge, does that mean you should do it, too?’ ” he said. “You’d hate to see a summer without baseball, but how do you weight it when it comes to someone’s health? It’s an unprecedented situation we’re all in, and we’re all just trying to do what’s best, even though we might not know what’s best right now.”