Warm weather aids prep for season

Manistee junior Megan Vander Weele fields a grounder during practice on Tuesday afternoon. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Dillon Rankin said he was probably ice fishing a year ago at this time.

On Tuesday, the Manistee senior catcher was wearing a cut-off T-shirt while going through drills with the rest of the Chippewas. Needless to say, there weren’t many complaints about the weather as the temperature soared above 80 degrees.

“It’s crazy,” said Manistee senior outfielder Jalen Bigalke while operating the pitching machine. “I never would have expected this, but it’s definitely good to get outside.”

Another day of record-high heat has been a boon for local teams, allowing them to get outdoors early.

“It’s wonderful,” said Manistee Catholic Central golf coach Pete Solwold. “I don’t think since we went to spring golf that we’ve ever had this kind of weather.”

Solwold and a few of his Sabers were chipping and putting on the practice hole at Manistee Golf & Country Club Tuesday afternoon, gearing up for the season.

“We’re doing all the stuff we need to do this early in the season,” Solwold said. “Everybody else complains that my team’s not ready in April. This year we don’t have that excuse.”

At Manistee High School, the softball and baseball teams went through regular practices right after school.

“We’re able to get out here and already get on the field and get a head start,” said junior shortstop Megan Vander Weele. “People hopefully will be able to tell we’ve been on the field already and we know what we’re doing.”

Manistee baseball coach Troy Nezki said he felt a little awkward turning on the air conditioning in his car while heading back from a teacher in-service in Cadillac, but was glad to be outside.

“A lot of the stuff that we were going to do inside, as far as practicing situations and stuff, we can do out here with actual distances and things like that,” he said. “It’s speeding up the learning process.”

The Manistee girls soccer team will be the first in the county to play a game, with Hart coming to Chippewa Field today.

“As quick as we got out here, it certainly makes a lot of difference,” said Manistee coach Rudy Guillen during practice Tuesday evening. “It allows them to get acclimated to the field and work on a few different things. It’s nice to get some of that stuff in and out of the way.”

Leave a Reply