It’s no secret this winter has been brutal. The snow and sub-zero temperatures seemed to be endless for a long four months, and the weather is still having its effects on multiple Albion athletic teams, most notably the baseball and softball programs.
The teams have yet to get outside on campus and practice due to the snow cover, and according to Albion athletic director Matt Arend, there may be spots on the softball field that still have up to 18 inches of snow. The baseball field is in better shape, but both are still visibly unplayable.
“I think if the weather patterns hold true, we’ll be ready to go for baseball next weekend,” Arend said. “But if we get any more snow, we’re in trouble.”
Next weekend is the home opener of MIAA league play for the baseball team as they welcome Trine University to Frank Joranko Field. They were set to host Adrian College tomorrow, March 22, but the field clearly isn’t ready, so instead they’ll travel to Adrian, who plays on an artificial surface.
The softball team, on the other hand, does not host an MIAA game until April 5, but they are currently scheduled to host Madonna University on March 25.
“We’re trying to figure out at what point do we go out and maybe plow or blow some snow off without damaging the [softball] field,” Arend said. “If we get another hard freeze, we might go out and try to do that.”
Despite the poor conditions, both the softball and baseball teams are doing their best to work with what they have, and recent trips to Florida gave the teams an opportunity to get outside and put all their practice indoors to the test.
“I think coming back from spring break, we are more enthusiastic about practices,” said softball player Alex Yaw, Birmingham senior. “Our games in Florida helped us discover what we need to work on as a team, and where some of our strengths are. We have come back ready to work hard to be competitive.”
Kyle Kowal, Fraser junior, said the baseball team is taking the practice situation with a “play the hand you’re dealt” approach, but still noted the effects of the weather are not completely avoidable.
“It’s pretty tough to adjust from playing in 70-80 degree weather in Florida and coming back to practice indoors at the Dow,” Kowal said. “I don’t think it’s distracting to the team it’s just very frustrating because we are very limited in what we can do inside.”
While Arend remains optimistic about getting all of the teams’ games in this spring, him and the rest of the athletic directors in the MIAA do have plans in place in the event that games start getting cancelled.
“If we need to move a game to get it in, we move it,” Arend said. “Road games will become home games, home games will become road games, depending on who’s got a field ready to go.
“Worst-case scenario, the last two weeks of the year we’re playing double-headers every other day.”
There’s only one ultimate solution to the problem Mother Nature has presented to the baseball and softball teams, though, and that’s for the temperatures to rise, but in the meantime the teams will have to continue to be patient.
Photo courtesy of Albion College Sports Information