By Mike Wertman
Medina Journal-Register — For the second time in three years Mother Nature has thrown the early season spring high school sports schedule a nasty curveball in the form of persistent rains over a period of several days this past week.
Those steady rains, which for Niagara-Orleans League teams, wiped out softball on Wednesday, tennis on Thursday and baseball on Friday, has kept athletic directors busy revising game calendars and coaches scrambling to keep their teams sharp in the face of postponements.
“It’s a challenge but we’ve got a great group of athletic directors in our league and everyone really cooperates and communicates real well,” said Albion Athletic Director Randy Knaak. “Our job involves plenty of phone calls and e-mails but we get it done. I feel worse for the kids and the coaches as they are really in limbo with this weather. It’s really challenge for the coaches to keep the kids as fresh as possible.”
And even the games that did get in earlier in the week were played in cold, rainy conditions.
“It’s a difficult situation,” agreed Medina Athletic Director Chris Hughes. “We have no control over the weather so we have to communicate when a season starts like this and everyone in our league really communicates well and works together.”
The persistent rains also presents a big challenge for school maintenance and grounds crews in getting the fields back into playable shape.
“Our grounds crews do a great job,” said Knaak, “They try to help out the very best they can.”
“It’s just a waiting game, a day to day thing,” added Knaak who noted that the N-O’s switch of baseball and softball schedules to two instead of three games a week for most weeks this season helps to give some flexibility in rescheduling games.
“After two years ago with all the rain that’s why we did it,” said Knaak. “We want to start our schedules in early April because very often you get good weather then but not this year. It’s tough and it keeps us on our toes.”
Any back up of games certainly causes concern especially for baseball pitching staffs.
“It makes everything a lot tougher,” said Lyndonville baseball coach Shane Price. “We’re lucky we’ve got seven or eight boys who can pitch but still rainouts make things more challenging.”
“Everyone wants to play but the big thing we have to worry about is the health and safety of the kids,” said Hughes. “It’s a delicate balance because players and coaches want to play. We just have to open up the calendars, get out the red pens and do some rescheduling and everyone is our league is great about working together on days and utilizing the fields that are available.”
Athletic directors, coaches and players alike are hoping Mother Nature is kinder to the coming week’s schedule through rain showers are forecast for several days.