Delay of the Games: Lingering snow will halt spring sportsPublished 8:53pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Plenty of area high school teams were hoping to hold their season openers early next week, but that probably isn’t going to happen.
Most teams haven’t even had a chance to step outside yet for practice as the ground remains covered in snow. Chances are several contests are going to be postponed and that could make for a heavy schedule when the spring season does get underway.
Austin softball coach Cindy Owen has been practicing with her team indoors for the past two weeks, and the squad has an indoor scrimmage scheduled.
“We’re anxious to get outside,” Owen said. “We can do fundamental things in the gym, but until you get outside and play the whole field, things are a little different”
Austin junior pitcher Abbey Ball can work on her throwing as much as she wants indoors, but it’s a little tougher to work on game situations.
“Things are slower when you’re indoors,” she said. “We just want to be outside before our first game.”
Austin’s boys and girls track and field teams have been outside running as temperatures have been in the high 30s to low 40s this week, but that doesn’t help the whole team. Until the track is cleared of snow, there are some athletes who will have to wait to work on their events.
“It is affecting our jumpers, pole vaulters and hurdlers,” Austin head girls track and field coach Nancy Jones said. “You can’t work the techniques inside.”
As if having practice routines thrown off and preparation stalled wasn’t enough, the weather could also have a major impact on the schedules this season.
Austin head baseball coach Troy Watkins said he is expecting to see more doubleheaders if the season gets pushed back significantly. That means pitching depth will be important when the season does get started.
“Everybody’s in the same boat,” Watkins said. “We’re all dealing with the weather and once it starts melting, it’ll melt fast.”
The Packers have a scrimmage scheduled in the Metrodome, which will give them a chance to tune up and the team has been holding indoor captain practices since February.
Austin senior Gabe Kasak chooses to look on the bright side of indoor practice.
“When you’re indoors you can still do all of those repetitions, so it’s a little bit of a help,” Kasak said. “You get all those extra repetitions and baseball’s all about getting comfortable with that muscle memory.”
The sight of snow in late March has to be painful for any local golfer, tennis player, softball player, baseball player, or track athlete.
The longer it takes for the fields to clear, the worse it will get.
Austin senior baseball player Marcus Stoulil summed up the whole ordeal perfectly.
“It’s a pain in the butt,” he said. “We’re a good week behind the other high schools because we’ve had some snow days and state basketball. We’ve got to overcome that and work hard with what we have.”
The Packer baseball team is scheduled to host Owatonna April 2 at 5 p.m., but the season opener is more likely to occur when the team is scheduled to host Mankato East in a doubleheader April 9 at 4 p.m.