Will the softball field be ready?
With spring quickly approaching, the softball team cannot wait to slip on its cleats and test out its field.
“We’re ready to see blue sky instead of a blue gym,” sophomore catcher Melanie Creager said. “It’s nice to have a big area to play in [inside], but we’re ready to get outside.”
The team is ready to chase pop-ups around the outfield and snag ground balls in the infield. Batters are ready to swing away at the fences. Pitchers are ready to test the mound out. And base runners are ready to swipe second base and then round third and feel the dirt brush through their fingers as they slide into home plate.
But the field is not ready for any of that.
And as March rolls around, the softball team can only hope that last year’s nightmare does not become this season’s story.
Last season, the weather was so bad throughout the season the softball team was unable to practice outside on the diamond, and many games were rescheduled or cancelled.
“Last year was worse,” Head Coach Jim Farrell said. “It was the first time in my 16 years here we didn’t practice outside ever. I had never seen that before. Not one single day did we get outside to practice.”
The circumstances defeated any type of home field advantage Cornerstone would have hoped to have had through practice time, Farrell said.
“It was huge,” Farrell said. “It didn’t give us any realistic or legitimate field time.”
That hurt the team when it came to techniques like calling popflys, lining up cutoffs and reading the bounce on ground balls.
“It’s a lot different when the ceiling doesn’t end,” Creager said.
“We do a lot of that when we get outside,” Farrell said.
But the most notable impact last year’s field conditions had was that it cost the team several games.
“If we have non-conference games rained out, they’re just cancellations,” Farrell said.
And the games they do makeup add an unnecessary level of stress late in the season to the point that players struggle to find time to keep up with classes, let alone to stay healthy enough for each game, according to Creager.
“We’ll be playing a lot of games a week,” Farrell said. “That’s always a concern.”
This season it is too early to tell how the weather conditions will affect the team.
“Few seasons have been as rough as it was last year, so I think the percentages are in our favor,” Farrell said. “Hopefully.”
“We pray on a regular basis,” he said. “Other than that, there’s nothing you can do. We can only hope.”
The team has big dreams for the future, but it would be content this season with a field it can practice on Farrell indicated.
“Hopefully someday we’ll be able to have a press box and seating that is decent and a better backstop,” Farrell said. “But for now it’s good, and we’re just thankful to have a field and a team.”