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Sports

Weather wreaking havoc

| Thursday, April 19, 2007

Despite the early predictions of a certain groundhog in February, winterlike weather has hung on in the Fay-West area, and it's playing havoc with spring sports schedules.

Rainouts have been common in recent weeks, and many local high school teams have been forced to practice indoors.

Baseball and softball teams have been the most adversely affected by the frequent inclement weather.

Physically, pitching is the main concern for baseball teams, as playing make-up games on consecutive days makes arms sore and alters rotations.

Inactivity and indoor practices can have a negative impact on players' mental approaches, as well.

"It's tough on morale, going back in the gym after being outside," Southmoreland baseball coach Brian Hyde said. "The kids are bored. We're doing drills in the halls just to keep the kids occupied."

Hyde says Southmoreland has spent many practices inside, where space is limited, but the Scotties are fortunate enough to be able to make use of the football field when their own field is too soggy for practice.

"That's one of our benefits," he said. "As long as it's not raining, we can pretty much get down there as much as we want."

Frazier softball coach Floyd Shroyer said his team has been fortunate, simply because it's one of the few teams that have played most of their games.

"We've been pretty lucky," he said. "The teams that we play really want to get their games in, so they make every effort to get them in."

Shroyer said the rainouts of the past several days actually have come at the right time, giving some players time to recover from illnesses.

Area track and tennis teams have been able to hold most of their matches this spring, but coaches said the weather hasn't made it easy.

"The courts are like ice when they're wet," Connellsville tennis coach Bill Ricks said. "We just can't get out there and get enough practices in."

Mt. Pleasant coach Tony Splendore said the Greensburg Racquet Club has been a valuable resource for the Vikings this season, with some home matches moved to that location.

But when the Vikings can't go indoors, bad weather means extra effort for Splendore.

"It's taken a lot of work," he said, noting that he's even had to break out the snow shovel in preparation for a match.

For track and field athletes, rain and cold can slow down times and, in some cases, create hazardous conditions.

"The long-distance kids have been able to run," Mt. Pleasant assistant coach Ralph Cardella said.

But Cardella said jumpers couldn't use the pits in the snow, and hurdlers have been careful of their footing on a wet track.

Some coaches are worried about trying to squeeze in make-up section games and matches by season's end. But they can take comfort knowing that they're all in the same boat.

"We're all going to have sore arms, and we're all going to be tired," Hyde said.

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