The calendar may have turned to spring on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean it turned for the better for spring sports.
Area spring sports teams are waiting out Mother Nature and her grip on winter to get out and play some ball. The first week of games have been canceled due to the weather and playing conditions and with the immediate forecast, school athletic directors said it doesn’t look promising any time soon.
The exception is Princeton’s girls soccer opener for Saturday, which as of Friday was deemed a go.
“I don’t see us playing, based on weather forecast, until next weekend at the earliest (March 29) and if not then, the following weekend,” said St. Bede’s Tom McGunnigal, who on Friday morning canceled the Lady Bruins softball opener scheduled for Saturday. “We need warm temperatures and wind. Some rain will be good if the temps get up and stay consistent in a higher temperature range.”
Mendota athletic director Gary Barrera said they still have snow drifts on their fields and attempts to blow them away with snowblowers were unsuccessfully, because they are frozen.
“Hopefully (Friday) they melt a little. I still don’t think we will play until the second week of April,” he said.
Bureau Valley’s Jeff Ohlson has adopted the one week at a time game plan. He is optimistic for March 31, but concurs it might not come until the week of April 7.
“We need some warm weather and some sun to get the frost out of the ground,” he said.
“If it would just stop getting so cold at night we could get the frost out of the ground and we would be OK, but it doesn’t look good for a few days,” Hall AD Eric Bryant Jr. said.
McGunnigal said his baseball and softball coaches are cautious about taking the fields to play games before the teams are ready.
“They want to be sure that we can at least get out and practice on the natural surface so our players are ready for those conditions. If you don’t prepare them on the surface they will be playing on, you are risking an injury,” he said. “Even our softball team going to Tennessee next week will practice down there before they play if we don’t get on the dirt this week just so they are ready.”
Even the equipment doesn’t like cold temps, McGunnigal notes.
“All bat manufacturers have minimum temperatures for their bats that will void warranties if they are used and damaged at a certain temperature and that just adds to the danger of injury,” he said.
Bryant said any canceled conference games will be “100 percent made up,” taking the place for nonconference dates as needed.
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