March snowfall forces changes on opening day of Spring practice

 

Manistee softball player Angelina Sam fields a ground ball barehanded off of the gym floor on the first day of full-team practice for the 2017 season on Monday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee softball player Angelina Sam fields a ground ball barehanded off of the gym floor on the first day of full-team practice for the 2017 season on Monday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Monday was the first day of official practices for most sports for the Spring high-school athletic season.

While the schedule may be different, one look out a window shows makes calling it a change of season something of a misnomer.

The recent snowfall has forced the initial preparations indoors, when it was able to take place at all.

Manistee’s softball team started the defense of its 2016 district and regional titles, not on its manicured diamond, but on a hardwood gym floor.

Chippewas head coach Paul Maksym said that he had a large turnout of freshman and sophomore players on the first day, and would have liked to have taken them outside.

“I told the girls to bring warm clothes, because I didn’t know what the weather was going to be like,” Maksym said. “As soon as the snow clears, we’ll be outside at least throwing the ball.”

Maksym said that he did not entertain the idea of going outside despite the snow, for health reasons.

“We’ve only got them for two weeks before they leave for Spring Break,” he said. “It looks like we may spend that whole time indoors, but it may clear up next week.

“As soon as we can get outside, we’re going to do it. We have to be ready for our first game.”

For Onekama baseball coach John Neph, being forced inside may end up being a blessing in disguise.

The Portagers graduated a very talented, experienced core of seniors from its 2016 squad, and working out in the gym forces the team to concentrate on the basics.

“It’s completely different,” Neph said. “What we did today was purely the fundamentals of throwing, catching and hitting. It’s easier to do that inside. We lost 13 seniors, and we’re starting with almost a whole new group of kids, so yeah, it worked out really well for us.”

By MHSAA rules, the first baseball and softball contests can take place on March 22, but locally the season will start later, presumably because of the perpetually unpredictable early-spring weather in Northern Michigan.

Manistee softball will open its 2017 campaign at Benzie Central on April 4, and Onekama baseball’s opening day will be on April 7 at Big Rapids Crossroads.

avatar

Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply