Prep athletics: Spring cancellations dampen spirits of area teams
With more storms rolling through the area this week and more rain making playing fields, tracks and courts unplayable, more games had to be canceled.
This is a common theme this spring, a season that for many teams got off to a late start due to snow in March and has seen week after week of bad weather and postponed contests.
“It’s been a rough spring for everybody,” said Sacred Heart athletic director David Fall.
Sacred Heart had baseball, softball, golf, girls soccer and tennis wiped out on Thursday. The Smith-Cotton track invitational originally scheduled for Tuesday was also delayed by a week.
At Tipton, the Cardinals have yet to play a home golf meet this spring. Of the five meets Tipton has had washed out, four were scheduled to be at the Tipton Country Club.
Smith-Cotton had to cancel its tennis and girls soccer invitationals. Those events were scheduled to get under way Friday but athletic director Rob Davis made the call Thursday afternoon to cancel.
With tennis, there were expected low temperatures for the 9 a.m. scheduled start time and with one team, Duchesne, traveling from the St. Louis area, it was important to make a decision early.
“With soccer, we wanted to give teams an opportunity to pick up an extra game and if we had waited until (this) afternoon it would have been too late,” Davis said.
Smith-Cotton will decide on Friday if a 5 p.m. baseball game at Liberty Park against Ozark will be played.
“Coach (Jeff) Mays and I will check the field around noon,” Davis said. “If we get a little bit of sun and the wind going there’s a chance we can play.”
From snow to rain to muddy fields to cold, there are many reason events have to be called off.
“The hard part is often it’s not always clear,” Davis said. “You look at the field and a lot of times you make your best guess.”
Rescheduling has not always been easy this year.
“You’re looking for an open day,” Fall said. “If it’s baseball you’re taking into account how many games. You can’t play four games in a row. Nobody has enough pitching.”
Rescheduling becomes even more difficult as the weeks go by and the cancellations pile up.
“We’re getting so late into the spring now, we were looking at a make-up with Rock Bridge in baseball and we only had two dates left,” Davis said.
Fall said some teams have had to get creative. The Gremlins baseball team added a game against Wellington-Napoleon which wasn’t on the schedule at the beginning of the season, but the Gremlins softball team was already scheduled to play there that day and both baseball teams had an open date. Sacred Heart has also moved baseball and softball games scheduled to be played at Northwest and Lincoln to Centennial Park, which is often playable when other fields aren’t.
“It’s the type of fields at Centennial, they drain well and the parks department does a good job of getting them ready,” Fall said.
Many games that have been washed out won’t make it onto the schedule. Fall said rescheduling Kaysinger Conference games in baseball and softball take priority over non-conference games. The Gremlins have already seen conference baseball and softball matchups with La Monte and Windsor and a baseball game against Stover washed out.
“Whether or not we are able to make those up remains to be seen,” he said.
But for Smith-Cotton, rescheduling a West Central Conference game is not necessarily a priority over rescheduling a game against a team like Jefferson City, Hickman or Rock Bridge.
“We have relationships with all of the schools we play, especially with teams in our district and teams we play year in and year out in every sport,” Davis said.
Even when games are rescheduled, things don’t always work out. Sacred Heart saw a softball game against Crest Ridge snowed out in March. The two teams moved the game to Thursday, and rains forced that game to be canceled. The Smith-Cotton track team has seen several changes this week alone. After the S-C Invitational was canceled Tuesday morning, Davis moved to add a meet at School of the Osage that afternoon, but then it too was canceled. The Tigers added a Thursday meet at Grain Valley and it met a similar fate.
Athletic directors know that they aren’t the only ones dealing with the constant schedule shuffling.
“We’re all in this together,” Davis said. “I was worried when I canceled the soccer tournament but every AD I spoke to said they understood and hang in there. It’s been a crazy spring for everyone. It doesn’t happen every year.”
In the end it will mean fewer games being played, but teams will get in as many as they can.
“Its heartbreaking,” Davis said. “These kids have been champing at the bit, working hard and they want a chance to show off. We’re doing everything we can but you can’t fight mother nature.”
• The S-C Invitational girls soccer tournament scheduled for today and Saturday has been canceled. The Lady Tigers will now travel to Hickman to face the Kewpies in a single game at 5 p.m. Friday.
• The Smith-Cotton tennis invitational has been canceled.
• Smith-Cotton’s track meet scheduled for Thursday at Grain Valley has been canceled. There is no make-up date. The Smith-Cotton Junior High track meet at Knob Noster scheduled for Thursday has also been canceled.
• A Kaysinger Conference baseball game between Tipton and Northwest scheduled for Thursday has been postponed.
• Sacred Heart’s softball game against Crest Ridge scheduled for Thursday at Centennial Park has been canceled. No make-up date has been set.
• The golf meet between Cole Camp and Sacred Heart scheduled for Thursday has been canceled. No make-up date has been set.
• Sacred Heart’s girls soccer game against Warrensburg scheduled for Thursday at Clover Dell Park has been canceled. No make-up date has been set.
• Sacred Heart’s tennis match at Fulton scheduled for Thursday has been canceled. No make-up date has been set.
• The baseball game between Stover and Sacred Heart scheduled for Thursday has been canceled.
• Stover’s golf meet at Sycamore Creek scheduled for Thursday has been canceled.
• The Stover track meet at Versailles scheduled for Thursday has been canceled.
• Knob Noster’s home baseball game against Holden scheduled for Thursday has been canceled.
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