COAL CITY – What was supposed to be the beginning of conference play for several local prep baseball and softball teams is instead a bit of a mess.
Coal City was one of several Interstate Eight Conference schools to have its first home-and-away divisional series wiped out by the unseasonable snow and cold. The Coalers were supposed to play Sandwich in both baseball and softball Monday and Tuesday. Both Coal City teams instead will play today at Sandwich and host the Indians next Wednesday, weather-permitting.
Instead of playing Tuesday, both Coal City teams were holding practices indoors.
“Not being able to get on the field and being forced to play in the gyms is hard,” Coal City softball coach Stephanie Harmon said. “We have only had two practices outside and I know the players are getting frustrated with taking ground balls off the gym floor and not being able to do situations on the field. I think that it impacts the outfielders greatly not being able to work on cuts, throwing to bases and judging fly balls.”
Coal City is scheduled to play five games in five days next week, four of which will be conference games, after playing three games this week. Such fluctuations can be especially tough for a baseball team because of the additional strain placed on its pitching staff.
“Having to postpone more games this week makes for more decisions,” Coalers baseball coach Jerry McDowell said. “Many teams are coming back with their top pitchers, and the No. 3, No. 4 [and] No. 5 pitchers may miss another start due to the weather. It is tough for a pitcher to go two weeks between starts.”
Today was supposed to be an off day for the Morris baseball team, which was to have played the first two of its first three-game Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East series with Yorkville. Instead the Redskins will play Game 1 at Yorkville this afternoon. The second game is Thursday at Yorkville, with Game 3 at Morris to follow at a later date.
Morris also had its first scheduled NIB12 East softball game against Yorkville moved back from Tuesday to today, as well as a nonconference home game against Providence bumped from Monday to May 20.
Each of the Morris Daily Herald’s other area schools – Gardner-South Wilmington, Minooka, Newark and Seneca – also had varsity postponements over the past few days. And the teams that might be most likely to lose games entirely are those of a lower profile.
“Lower level teams are feeling the pinch more than anyone,” McDowell said. “If it comes down to only one field available, lower level get pushed back so varsity teams or sophomores can play.”
The situation is the same for virtually everyone in the area, McDowell said, so the weather should not be an excuse for poor results.
“It’s nothing to get frustrated over. It’s part of the spring season,” Morris softball coach Jen Lowery said. “The girls have to stay focused and work hard, inside or outside.”