New England is the home to many things: Dunkin Donuts, the Patriots and so much snow. Though we may enjoy the first two icons of New England, the snow and the weather have caused a constant problem for spring sports at Keene State.
Baseball and softball are taking hard hits to their schedule this season.Baseball has canceled four games so far this year.
Field preparations have to be made before KSC can host a baseball or softball game, and part of that preparation includes unfreezing the field. If the field is frozen or covered with snow, it is unavailable to play on.
Keene State Softball Head Coach Carrah Fisk said that playing a third of their regular season in Florida over spring break is “crucial.”
NCAA regulations require teams to play a minimum of 32 games per season, which is why most KSC spring sports head to Florida to play a portion of their games.
“Playing a weather-dependent spring sport in New England is a challenge,” said Fisk. “Last year we did not meet the minimum due to weather and finals week constraints, which means that none of our players were eligible for postseason awards. That was difficult. We feel like we’re in a good spot this season.” said Fisk.
The Keene State grounds crew are constantly cleaning the fields and most parts of campus including parking lots, side walks, and Appian way.
“They work hard to make our fields ready for us as soon as they possibly can be… In fact, they were out over spring break spreading black sand to help the snow melt faster, and right now we’re waiting for the frost to lift,” said Fisk.
Keene State could possibly improve thaw time to help with the progression of spring sports with a field house.
“Keene State could build a field house that would help all of our spring teams prepare more effectively, with the highest priority being a track for our track and field team who doesn’t have the opportunity to compete at home throughout their entire winter and spring seasons,” said Fisk.
The constant change in weather and schedule is a variable that spring sports prepare ahead of time for.
For softball specifically, Fisk said she is used to changing games at the last minute because of where we live.
“We call it ‘flex softball’ because it is rare to play an entire season as originally scheduled, as we have to be flexible enough to shift our plan with 12-24 hours notice… not once in my five years at KSC have we played a season as originally scheduled” said Fisk.
Keene State Softball will play their first home game and double header against Southern Maine tentatively on Saturday, March 30 with a 1 p.m. start time.
Cailla Prisco can be contacted