Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weather challenges spring sports

By Samantha Borawski
Sports Editor

The spring sports season has been in shambles as spring sports have been experiencing cancellations and makeups for most of their games, especially for the Cardinal Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball teams.

Both schedules have been drastically altered from their original schedule because of snow, rain and poor field conditions throughout the conference. The teams began their seasons in February with indoor practices and have been indoors for the majority of the season.

“The challenges of practicing indoors is keeping the practices fresh and the athletes engaged,” said Softball Coach Jen Miller. “When teams are practicing this late in their season, they need to be on the actual playing surface and an actual field size.”

One thing this difficult spring season has taught both teams is flexibility. For the softball team, all of the games they have played, except for two against St. Thomas, have been held in Minnesota domes.

“The biggest difference between playing in a dome and playing outside is the rubber turf. The turf causes the ball to bounce more and come at you faster because it is short and combed,” said sophomore softball player Mel Hamilton.

The softball team has felt right at home in the dome, winning 11 of 12 games and 8 of 8 conference games that they have played indoors. However, they have not competed on their home field at Saint Mary’s University.

For seniors, it is especially difficult to not play home games this season since this is the last time they will be playing.

“Being unable to play home games is definitely disappointing, especially during my senior year,” said senior Julianne Bartosz. “However, I’m thankful that we’re at least able to play and having such a successful season thus far makes it worth it.”

The baseball team, who has played even fewer games, understands the term flexibility as well. Like the softball team, all of the games they have played, except for a double header against St. Thomas, have been played indoors at the Huber H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The baseball team hasn’t played a game since their game against St. Thomas on April 7. Because of this, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Association Conference (MIAC) decided to overhaul the remainder of the baseball schedule. This means, beginning on April 22, each team will attempt to compete in all 20-conference games by May 8.

Rescheduling all the games is a huge challenge for the coaches. “Having to juggle player schedules, bus schedules, the opponents schedule, weather forecast, playable dates and field conditions is one big puzzle that needs to be hashed out every time a game is cancelled,” said Miller.

Not only is the rescheduling frustrating for the coaches, who have to constantly change dates, times and locations for games, but for the student-athletes as well, who constantly have to change their schedules at a moment’s notice.

Hamilton said, “The most frustrating part about the weather is being mentally prepared for a game and missing classes, especially since you have to constantly alter your schedule for a different day on short notice if the game gets rescheduled.”

“I think our team has responded very well and [will] do whatever it takes to play,” Miller said. “This spring is unlike any I have ever been a part of as a player or a coach. This late in the spring and there is still snow flying is a mystery to me.”

The softball team is scheduled to have their senior day at home against Macalester on Sunday, April 28. The baseball team hopes to get on their field for a four-game homestand starting Saturday, April 27.

No comments: