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Johnson: Spring athletics already fall to weather

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:36 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:43 p.m. CST
(Mark Johnson for Shaw Media)
Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic is cautiously optimistic that his Indians and the Morris Redskins will be able to play its early-season game on Tuesday as scheduled.

And so it begins.

The first day of scheduled outdoor spring prep sports for the area in 2014 was Tuesday. Tuesday also brought the first – and definitely not the last – weather-related postponements of the season. Although the skies were sunny and the temperatures in the 50s, field conditions prevented the Morris baseball team from hosting Wilmington, and the Morris girls soccer team from playing at Hall.

There are a few schools, notably Minooka, that come close to equaling the Redskins’ track record of getting their field ready and playing games during wet springs, but I know of nobody that does better. If Morris couldn’t be ready to play baseball on Tuesday, and it was the only local school scheduled to do so, then I can’t imagine anyone in its general vicinity would be.

“I would have to say we average one to two more home games a year because our field’s ready, and the other team’s field isn’t,” Morris athletic director George Dergo told me recently.

Other casualtiies of the hard winter already have been announced. Coal City was supposed to open Friday in both softball and baseball against Illiana Christian. Those games have been moved to April 9 and April 24, respectively.

We will likely, in my opinion, have the local baseball and softball seasons open by the end of the week, although it’ll happen nearly 200 miles from Morris. The Morris and Seneca softball teams, as well as the Morris baseball team, will play in the Play the Turf showcase in downstate Jacksonville, which runs from Friday through Sunday.

There is no more than a 20 percent chance of precipitation in Jacksonville forecasted for any day between now and Sunday, per The Weather Channel’s website, so it looks good. What still doesn’t look quite as good is the chances of baseball and softball being played locally in the coming days.

The forecast, as I write this early Tuesday afternoon, isn’t terrible. TWC has said there’s an 80 percent chance of rain overnight, which’ll set everything back, but other than a 40 percent chance of snow (ugh) Monday, the 10-day is pretty dry and sunny.

So I suppose there’s a chance that Minooka will open its baseball season as scheduled next Tuesday at Morris. Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic thought there was a chance when I caught up with him last week – and that was when we were expecting a signficant snowfall Saturday that didn’t really materialize.

“It’s a long-standing relationship, a rivalry that certainly we would like to play them, and we know they would like to play us,” Petrovic said. “We’ll do a lot of work on our field, and I know that Morris will do the same. There’s probably a pretty decent chance that one of our fields would be ready to play. It sure would be nice, ’cause it has been, seems like a long spring already, being in the gym every day and working on fields.”

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