Area softball, baseball teams battling Mother Nature

Area softball, baseball teams battling Mother Nature

Through the first three weeks of the regular season, baseball and softball teams across the area have found it virtually impossible to get on the field, thanks to a steady mix of spring rain showers and soggy playing conditions.


Out of all the possible standouts of the early baseball and softball season, this individual doesn’t have an eye-popping batting average or impressive earned-run average.

It’s Mother Nature, and she’s having a pretty good year.

Through the first three weeks of the regular season, teams across the area have found it virtually impossible to get on the field, thanks to a steady mix of spring rain showers and soggy playing conditions.

“It’s obviously been tough,” Wooster baseball coach Steve Young said. “But I’ve been very impressed and pleased with the maturity and focus our guys have shown throughout.

“We’ve tried to keep things fresh and implement as many competitive yet fun situations/games/drills as possible for our guys. Their energy has been pretty high throughout, and obviously as competitors, they want to get out there and play.”

Like the majority of local teams, the Generals entered the week of April 15 with just five games to date and a total of 11 contests being either postponed or canceled.

And despite having a perfect 5-0 mark in those limited games, it’s been a steady mix of indoor practices and limited outdoor work — far from the ideal for a team that is working toward its fourth Ohio Cardinal Conference championship and another lengthy postseason run.

But Wooster has found a way to be creative with everything, from an indoor bunt scrimmage to work on execution to a Wiffle ball game to just keep players’ minds off the playing time they’re missing because of the weather.

“I’m pleased with where we’re at in terms of wins and losses, but we still have a lot to improve on and get cleaned up,” said Young, whose team has won three of those games by one run. “At the same time, myself and our staff understands it’s hard for our guys to really get into any kind of rhythm playing once a week and getting shut indoors for days on end.”

Across the county at Orrville, veteran coach Scott Marshall has found the same challenges for his program.

The Red Riders had just one of their four preseason scrimmages get played and has had four games get rescheduled or wiped off the schedule completely. It has played just five times to open the campaign and twice over a span of 13 days in the closing weekend of March into the first two weeks of April.

While that’s frustrating enough, Marshall is more concerned with the hectic schedule ahead for his club as the weather begins to clear up.

“It has been the toughest start to a season, due to weather, in my 24 years of coaching high school baseball,” he said. “It has been very hard to maintain a routine and also for players to acclimate to being outside — seeing a ball outside is way different than being inside.

“When weather breaks, we will be playing games almost every day, and that presents a huge challenge as most teams don’t have the pitching depth.”

The softball teams across the area also have been affected by the soggy start to the spring season.

West Holmes already has two of its four games that it missed over the first couple weeks of the year rescheduled for the week of April 15 and knows the opportunities to play will be there over the upcoming weeks.

The Knights have taken full advantage of those chances to play in the early going, storming out to a 6-2 start to the season with four of those wins over local teams Orrville (16-0), Dalton (10-2), Wooster (23-6) and Waynedale (10-8). The team has outscored its opponents 97-36.

“The girls have developed a ‘we’ll roll with whatever’ attitude that has helped them deal well with the adversity the weather has caused,” said coach Steve Franks, who is in his sixth year at the helm. “During this bad weather, we have been ready to go when we have had the opportunity to play and have had some success even during tough conditions.

“We realize, or hope, the weather has to break sometime and want to be ready to continue to play well when it does.”

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