The boys of summer (winter?) are back

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

I grew up playing baseball during the Indian summers in Iowa, so seeing a full slate of area athletic events called off because of wind chill seems a little strange to me.

All seven originally scheduled sporting events in and around Mower County -- including the season-openers for Austin High School softball and baseball -- were postponed Thursday afternoon because of anticipated problems in the weather.

Eager to see Southland host LeRoy-Ostrander/Grand Meadow on the baseball diamond, I was disappointed.

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So I waited around the office, waiting for the snow and the wicked weather to rain down on Austin and surrounding small towns to justify missing out on what I thought was a playable afternoon. Visions of a Blooming Prairie baseball photo taken two Aprils ago danced in my head.

Next Wednesday will mark my two-year anniversary for joining the Herald, and I'll never forget the first event I covered. It was Riverland softball at Todd Park, in a frigid Minnesota spring, with wind gusts over 30 and temperatures below 20. I wouldn't wish that assignment on an intern.

Last spring, the Austin softball team opened the season with a home game against Faribault. Never have I been more thankful for forgetting to put away my winter coat for the year. Wind was far from minimal and temperatures dropped with every pitch. Snow flurries even fell intermittently throughout the first four innings.

But yesterday's weather did not cooperate with the forecast and the Minnesota State High School League's guidelines for competition in the cold never came into play. The state league's colorful grid shows that yesterday's conditions at game time -- 36 degrees with wind gusts up to 15 miles per hour -- were far from threatening.

But I can appreciate what the area's activities directors were doing. Erring on the safe side is always the right choice, especially for many teams' season-openers in non-conference settings. The Blooming Prairie softball team was scheduled to host Glenville-Emmons, but that was cancelled outright because of pending weather conditions.

"If it was a conference game it might be different, but it's not so there's no real reason to try and play it today," BPHS activities director John Worke said of Thursday's scheduled softball opener. "What are the other schools doing?"

Worke was worried that he might have jumped the gun, but considering a pair of bitter-cold trips I made to Blooming Prairie two spring seasons ago, the decision was virtually a no-brainer.

Make-up dates

Austin's baseball home-opener against Faribault was postponed to April 29, while the Packer softball team's trip to Faribault was moved to April 28. Southland's non-conference clash with LOGM will be made up on May 9, and the girls' golf meet at Kingsland has not yet been rescheduled.

The Triton Invitational track and field meet Hayfield was supposed to attend has been moved back two weeks to April 17. The Viking softball team had its non-conference game against Blue Earth postponed to April 25.

Today's time trials at Albert Lea have already been cancelled for the Austin High squad. No word yet on baseball and softball home-openers at Blooming Prairie or Riverland.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at