Snow, Unseasonably Cold Temperatures Wreaking Havoc On Area Schedules
It’s no secret that weather conditions for the past month and a half have posed problems for local high school baseball and softball teams.
If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate soon, scheduling could turn into a logistical nightmare.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association on Thursday waived the “Seven Consecutive Day” rule for the remainder of this year’s spring sports season, meaning teams no longer have to take a break after six consecutive days of games or practices.
Local coaches and administrators are hoping that won’t be necessary, but more bad weather could change that.
“I think as long as we have a nice weekend … if teams can get up and running by Monday, I think teams will at least be able to get their league games in,” Rob Parry, Section VI baseball chairman, said when asked if Sunday games would become necessary. “It’s going to be tight, but the most important thing now is getting their league games in.”
As of today, baseball teams have 28 days to play the remainder of their games with Thursday, May 17 the last day for league games. The Section VI playoff seeding meeting will take place that night.
“The umpires are going to be working every day, that’s for sure. Whether teams want to do doubleheaders or how close they push things together, that’s going to affect umpires,” Parry said. “Three or four years ago we had a season like this … it wasn’t as bad … but one of the problems we had was umpires.”
As for softball, teams have just 25 days left to play with the final day for league games Monday, May 14 — with the seeding meeting that night.
“Bruce Johnson and I were talking … neither him or I remember a year this brutal,” Frewsburg coach Jon Blanchard said about a conversation he had with the former Frewsburg assistant baseball coach. “The rain is one thing, but it’s been cold and snow since the beginning of March.”
Some teams, such as Clymer softball and Sherman baseball, have yet to play a game this spring.
The Wildcats baseball team has eight required Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West games they have to play in under a month. They also have non-league contests scheduled that become less of a priority to fit in.
“It feels like practicing the first month for one hoop,” said coach Cory Emory, who is also Sherman’s athletic director and boys basketball coach. “I don’t know what I’d do in basketball if I had one basket for one month.”
The Wildcats were actually supposed to travel east Saturday for a non-league game against Chautauqua Lake at Cooperstown Dreams Park, but management from that facility told the teams earlier this week that their fields weren’t ready either.
“I told them, ‘we’re going to be the best gym baseball team in the history of the world.'”
Jamestown’s baseball team went 4-1 in Myrtle Beach earlier this month, but hasn’t stepped foot on its field at the Martin Road Complex.
“The kids were playing well together. We spent a month in the gym, headed down there with some nice weather and got some momentum going,” Jamestown coach Dave Roehmholdt said. “You might not get beautiful weather (up here) but you expect to play once or twice a week and it’s been two more weeks inside.”
The Red Raiders are scheduled to play at Clarence today — on an all-turf field — but even that game is in jeopardy because temperatures have not been conducive to melting snow.
“This group has stayed really focused. I’m really happy with them,” Roehmholdt said. “They come in the gym and do their work, but they want to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Jamestown did practice on the turf at Strider Field once since returning from South Carolina.
“I’ve been coaching at some level for 18 years … and it’s gotta be right up there,” Roehmholdt said about the worst springs he’s experienced. “We’ve had some springs that were wet, but this is the first one I can remember 30 degrees and snow this late in the year.”
Frewsburg’s softball team also went to Myrtle Beach and played a few games, but the Bears have only been outside three times — and played once — since returning from down South.
“I’ve got a really young, enthusiastic team … we’ve been able to take this in stride, work on base running, signals and other specific plays,” Blanchard said. ” … I’ve been really happy with how we’ve performed.”
Playing in CCAA Division 2 East, Frewsburg has just five league opponents and nine league games remaining to fit in over the next 25 days.
“For us, we’re going outside (today) no matter what because we need to hit fly balls and work on our outfield,” Blanchard said. “Seeing the ball in the air and being able to judge a pop fly … we’ll work on that.”
Local baseball and softball teams have spent as much time in their gyms as volleyball teams in the fall and basketball teams in the winter, but for now most of them are just taking it all in stride.
“When we get them in, it will probably be two or two-and-a-half weeks of games,” Emory said, ” … but we kind of get used to it around here.”