Rain plays havoc on sports
It's hard to play baseball on a field that looks like a swimming pool.
“We haven't been on our field in a month if we're not playing a game,” said Yuba College baseball coach Tim Gloyd. “It's hurt us bad. We can't get into any rhythm, and we can't get out and practice.”
Inclement weather has crippled athletic programs at Yuba and at high schools across the Mid-Valley. Baseball, softball and golf teams have suffered the most, but track and field, tennis and girls soccer teams have also been affected.
“There are only so many wiffle ball drills you can run in a gym,” said Wheatland High baseball coach and athletics director Dave Contreras. “I hope it doesn't last too much longer.”
According to the National Weather Service, rain fell in the Mid-Valley on 21 of 31 days in March with a Marysville total of 5.67 inches, 2.13 inches above the monthly average of 3.54 inches.
April has brought more of the
same, with an inch of rain recorded in the first three days. Rain is also expected today and Wednesday with a new storm in the forecast for the weekend.
At the high school level, most area schools have lost almost all of their preseason baseball and softball games, which will not be rescheduled.
Tennis and track and field teams have found a bit more success, the latter largely depending on if an all-weather track is available. Colusa, a school without an all-weather track, sent a handful of athletes to a meet in Redding, but otherwise has had its entire track schedule wiped out.
“We've actually had to play doubleheaders in tennis if you can imagine that,” Colusa athletics director Mike West said.
When asked how many games have been lost or are pending reschedule at his school, Sutter athletics director Scott Turner said, “How about all of them?”
Athletes of all variety are now competing for practice room inside gyms across the area. It's to the point where some programs have played more games than they've had on-field practices.
“We get out and practice a little, but we spend most of the time just working on the field instead,” Contreras said about the Wheatland softball team.
With the exception of lightning, weather usually doesn't stop a soccer game, but even some of those fields are now too saturated for use.
“Soccer (teams) can usually play in any condition short of standing water on the field, and that's pretty much where we're at right now,” said River Valley High athletics director Tom Zaragoza.
Lost classroom time is also becoming an issue because of all the makeup games.
“What it has forced us to do is schedule doubleheaders, and we've had to pull students out of class early,” said East Nicolaus baseball coach and athletics director Matt Cheeseman. “That's the real impact.”
West is concerned with the impact on student exams following the spring break.
Yuba City seems to be doing the best of any local program, but the Honkers are running into a problem with a Metro Conference rule that requires teams to play makeup games in the order of the schedule.
“The impact really has been coming into the office and rescheduling (games) only to have to cancel them again,” said Yuba City athletics director Chris Yonge.
In other words, if a rescheduled game is rained out, other rescheduled games have to be pushed back too.
“If it keeps raining like this, they may have waive that rule,” Yonge said.
At Yuba, players plan their classes around the Tuesday and Thursday game schedules.
But as makeup dates start to pile up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, students face the possibility they'll miss weeks of classes at a time.
“They're student-athletes, and they're here to get an education so it's frustrating,” Yuba softball coach Stephanie Reynolds said.
Gloyd shares her frustration.
“I had my guys on a bus (on Thursday), and we made it all the way out to Colusa on our way to Mendocino, but around 11:30 a.m. we got the call that it was going to be canceled,” Gloyd said. “You could just hear the groan go up when the phone rang. By the time they got back (to Yuba) school was over, and now they'll have to miss more classes later on.”
Yuba's baseball team has played 24 of its 29 scheduled games. Yuba's softball team has played 20 of 24 games.
Gloyd said he worries that his players' on-field and in-class problems will hurt their chances for scholarships to four-year schools.
“Their (batting) averages aren't where they're supposed to be, and all of a sudden that Div. I scholarship slips to a Div. II scholarship,” Gloyd said. “It's not fair to the kids.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.