By Angel Vadillo
Even before going to sleep, the softball team checks next day’s weather to see if they will be able to play ball. They have suffered from Mother Nature’s wrath several times now.
The team is trying to come together to play the best they can on every game, but with rain, strong winds, and unpredictable weather, it is unachievable. When the weather is constantly changing, it is almost impossible to adapt and become a better team.
Amber Good, head softball coach, said, “We haven’t had many consecutive days on the field together as a team. With primarily a new team, it is difficult to be able to come together when we aren’t getting to play.”
If the weather threatens a game, coaches from the teams playing make a decision on whether or not the game should be played.
The climate has punished the softball team nine times so far. Six doubleheaders have been rescheduled, while two tournaments, the Friends Softball Tournament and the McPherson Spring Tournament, have been cancelled.
“Several people have to be consulted in rescheduling a home game,” said Good.
To reschedule a home game, the city has to be consulted about the field’s availability in order to make sure there are no conflicts with the high school. After checking with the city, the coach must contact the other team to see if they can arrange travel for the day.
Good must also contact Sarah McMahon, the KCAC umpire assigner, to make sure the team gets officials for the day, as well as various people on campus to have game coverage. The softball team needs to have athletic training coverage, sports information coverage which includes stats, scoreboard, and an announcer, and also have the athletic administration cover.
Good said, “It can be both lengthy and quick process. It just depends on how quick they get back to me.”
The conference games against Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Mary and McPherson have all been rescheduled twice. Kansas Wesleyan was moved originally from April 9 to April 11 and finally to April 18. The game against the Lady Spires was changed from the second conference game to the second-to-last. The McPherson game was also moved from March 30 to April 4 to April 27.
Rachel Baker, sophomore pitcher, said, “It’s really frustrating. Everyone wants to play, but the weather just won’t cooperate.”
Good said, “If our games are cancelled we still have practice, so we get in the cage and hit.”
When a game is cancelled, the team loses motivation acquired from previous games. Good said, “When we find out a game is cancelled, they are usually disappointed.”
Alexis Del Toro, freshman outfield, said, “We get disappointed because we can’t get on the field.”
The softball team has had a nine-day break due to the weather. The last game before the gap was a doubleheader against Hillsdale on March 28. Nine days later, April 6, the team resumed play against Ottawa.
Megan Walentynowicz, freshman catcher, said, “With more play comes more experience. It’s difficult when you aren’t getting to play, but we still put a lot of work over our break to get back on the field and play the rest of the games.”
The weather not only disrupts the calendar, but also extends it. The Lady Builders’ conference season was to end April 23 at Bethany. Since six conference double headers have been moved, the team is now aiming to finish four days later at McPherson.
Apart from changes in the schedule, the team has to deal with back-to-back game fatigue. Games are scheduled one, two and even three days in a row. The Lady Builders have 12 players who finish exhausted after each game.
Good said, “We are having to schedule games back-to-back which gives us little rest time. With a small roster, our rest time is crucial.”
Since Mother Nature is unpredictable, the team will be tested to see if they can achieve the goals set at the beginning of the season.
“We never really know what to expect so we just deal with what Mother Nature decides to give us,” said Good. “This has been definitely the most challenging spring with the weather.”
If the weather allows, the Lady Builders will travel to play the third conference doubleheader at Sterling on April 13. The team will take the field after a week without playing. The Lady Builders last performance was April 6.
Angel Vadillo is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.