The clocks have sprung forward and spring is officially here with the vernal equinox on March 21.
However, it has become apparent that someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that.
This time of year is incredibly tough for everyone in the Northeast, and it is especially tough for baseball and softball teams that are trying to start their schedules and compete in games.
This is especially true for the Clarion baseball and softball teams who have had a combined eight games postponed with the season only a couple weeks in.
Both teams fled the weather and headed south for spring break in order to be able to take to the field and compete.
However, since returning, the teams once again have been going on a day-by-day basis on whether they will be able to play or even practice outside.
With both the baseball and softball fields being natural grass instead of turf, neither team has been able to be on their respective fields yet this season.
This means that the team’s practices have been limited to Tippin Gymnasium or the turf football field at Memorial Stadium.
“Being in the gym you begin to feel bogged down, and it starts feeling cumbersome in a way because there’s only so much you can do in there,” senior Shawnna Crago said.
First-year softball head coach Cheryl Peterson has been able to adapt most of her practices to be beneficial, even when indoors.
“This year’s squad is focused on getting back to fundamentals and working to be consistent in those routine fundamental plays. Many drills focused toward that goal both offensively and defensively can be adapted for inside practices. Unfortunately fly balls, long throws more than the length of a basketball court, and hard ground ball hops on the dirt are not included in that list,” Peterson said.
This limits the teams greatly when they try to gear up for PSAC West play.
Also, with the fields at Memorial Stadium unplayable, the teams are forced to play its home games at the opposing team’s field if they are in better condition, or have a turf playing surface.
This is especially relavent for the baseball team, who didn’t play a true home game until the middle of April last season.
“It takes a toll on you having to travel for every game,” junior Tyler Delval said.
Not only does the cold and miserable weather have an effect on the teams trying to prepare for the games, but it also has a huge effect on the playing conditions for the players during the games.
“The cold definitely affects me as a pitcher because it takes just a little bit more time to warm up and stay loose,” Crago said.
Crago also credits the cold as a challenge when she is on the mound as well.
“When it’s cold, it takes a toll on my hand and fingers, therefore it’s a little bit more challenging to have a grip on the ball for my pitches. But as an athlete, you try to block out all of the external factors and not have excuses for the performance,” Crago said.
Sophomore Casey Wilcox had a different take on this issue from a batter’s perspective.
“Every ball player is lying to you if they say that it doesn’t cross their mind of how bad it’s going to sting if you hit the ball in the wrong spot on the bat on the cold days. Hitting the ball incorrectly of the bat, like trying to pull an outside pitch, is awful on a regular day, but on a cold day, the pain is ten times worse. If your hands weren’t numb to begin with, they are now and you are fighting against the pain to grip the bat and keeping battling,” Wilcox said.