In the world of sports, coaches will often preach to players to worry about only what they can control. The one thing no one can control is Mother Nature, and the weather has proved to be a factor so far this spring sports season.
Last week the Keene State College baseball team had difficulties reacting to the weather when they traveled to Western Connecticut State and were sent home because of a rescheduling due to rain.
Junior catcher Joe Cortese said that, although the team knew it was going to rain, they didn’t know how bad. He said, “We went down and we thought we could get the game in. We ended up getting down there and I think we left around 7 a.m…it had been raining the entire time driving down there. So we finally got there and the field was already bad to begin with, but the field wasn’t in good shape.”
The team said the trip in total took about nine hours. Head Coach Ken Howe said the team drove through about two hours of rain just to get there, but the team was hopeful to play as it was simply misting outside when they got close. As far as preparing for unfortunate weather, Howe joked about all of his experience trying to keep up with the inconsistent New England weather. “I think I have a minor in weather forecasting,” Howe said.
“Mother Nature hasn’t been cooperating that much yet this year,” Howe said.
Howe said the rescheduling came as a disappointment to the ball club, and that inclement weather changes everything as far as things such as pitching rotation and managing rest are concerned.
“Baseball is an adjusting game,” Howe said. “Guys have to be ready and willing to adjust their own personal schedules and class schedules to try to get everything done that they need to do academically as well as on the baseball field.”
Fortunately the team was able to make up the game with WCS on Sunday, when the team split with the Colonials in a double header. The game was relocated to the Owls field, making the double header a home series.
Cortese explained the importance of these games as games in the Little East Conference series. He said the LEC games are the most important in all of the sports teams’ schedules.
“The tough thing was that it was an LEC game,” Cortese said. “It’s a conference game; it’s one of the most important ones of the season, and, as it works with the guys in the LEC, you don’t give up the home game because every year it switches. Last year West Conn[ecticut] came to us; this year we go to them, so you don’t really want to give those up because you win those games, you make the playoffs. So those are the ones that count.”
Fortunately, the weather had not plagued the softball team, which was able to play its game against WCSU. The Owls split their games on the road against the Colonials. However, the softball team did deal with a rain delay instead of an entire rescheduling of the game.
Senior outfielder Steph Long said, “It was definitely a challenge to stay focused after a long bus ride and a delay.”
She said that dealing with the wet weather was difficult, but that the team was able to endure by warming up in the gym and staying loose.
According to Long, Head Coach Carrah Fisk Hennessey has a certain mentality toward playing against the elements. “Our coach calls it ‘Flex Ball’ because really you have to be flexible,” Long said.
“Our sport is one that is so easily affected by weather that it’s important to go with it and not let those things affect us,” Long said. “She [Fisk Hennessey] tells us to be aware that in the outfield the ball will skip faster on wet grass, bunts will just stop because the field is softer, especially against a team like Western who bunts a lot. We had to be on our toes and expect anything.”
On the lacrosse field, senior defender Laura Gendreau shared some veteran insight on how Head Coach Katie Arsenault conditions her team for playing in harsh weather.
“From the very start of the season she’s told us to overdress and overpack extra layers,” Gendreau said. “She incorporated jump ropes and a few simple, quick activities to keep our blood flowing while we’re out on the turf.”
Gendreau added that the teams this season have been fortunate with the weather when compared to last season’s.
“Last year we spent our entire preseason inside the gym due to snow and ice, so we really can’t complain,” Gendreau said.
Nick Tocco can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org