Rain will wreak havoc on spring sports schedules
March 3, 2001
Thought for the day: A lot of baseball, softball, tennis, and golf players and coaches would appreciate it if whoever left the water running would kindly turn the faucet off.
Remember the drought from last summer and fall? Well, we're not going to have one this spring. Not if this past week is any indication of what's ahead.
I'm sure plenty of farmers and fishermen are glad to see the rain, but the same probably can't be said for the participants of spring sports. Not by the good teams anyway.
It's pretty hard to play baseball and softball when the field is standing in water.
I've seen it done before when games had to be completed by a certain deadline, but it was pretty ugly.
In baseball and fast-pitch softball, it's mighty hard to get your timing down at the plate when you play a day, then take a week off.
Considering how short the baseball and fast-pitch seasons are compared to other sports, this week's rain alone is either going to cause some jam-packed schedules if the games are made up, or else the number of games played this spring is going to be a lot fewer.
Fast-pitch woes will only hasten the demise of slow-pitch at the high school level. You can expect quite a few coaches to want to play fast-pitch in the fall when the weather is usually much better. And with no future beyond high school for slow-pitch players, the opposition should be minimal.
Yes, I know some of the best slow-pitch high school teams in the state are in this area, but even the state's junior colleges quit offering it as a scholarship sport. Just ask the local high school coaches how many of their slow-pitch players, some of whom are mighty good, have been offered fast-pitch scholarships at four-year schools.
Another problem is that some parts of the state will have trouble getting enough umpires for both baseball and fast-pitch this spring if both sports are being played on the same date at the same time. And making up rainouts will only lead to the likelihood of more games being played at the same time.
Upon further review: A few weeks ago, I made my picks for area basketball teams that I thought could could make it to the Big House.
With one week of the state tournament almost over, it's time to see how those picks fared.
In Class 5A, I thought Meridian's girls and Wayne County's boys were locks. Meridian made it to the Big House and is in the semifinals.
Wayne County's War Eagles? They didn't make it. That's 1-out-of-2.
In Class 4A, Noxubee County's girls and Neshoba Central's girls were my choices. They both lived up to expectations and are both in the semifinal round. So that's 3-out-of-4.
In Class 3A, I went with Choctaw Central's girls and Heidelberg's boys as locks along with whoever won the Southeast Lauderdale-Newton County girls' game.
Choctaw's Lady Warriors made it. Heidelberg's Oilers did not. Southeast Lauderdale's girls beat Newton County and are playing Choctaw Central tonight in semifinal action. I'm calling it 5-out-of-7.
Kemper County and West Lauderdale were my long shots in 3A boys' play. They didn't make it. That drops me to 5-out-of-9.
In Class 2A, I took Newton and South Leake in the boys' bracket and neither disappointed. Bay Springs made it in the girls' side, so I'm now up to 8-out-of-12.
In 1A, my picks were the girls' teams from Lake and Scott Central. Lake is in the semifinal round, while Scott Central didn't get here.
That's 9-of-14 and I'm not complaining.
In fact, if you ask Lake coach Bill Ingersoll, I told him on Dec. 1 that I thought his team had a good chance to win a state championship this season. I had just seen his team beat a pretty good Newton team and a real good Newton County team before losing by four to a pretty good West Lauderdale squad in consecutive games. If you can play that well with the good big schools, 1A teams shouldn't be that much of a problem was my thinking.
Ingersoll didn't necessarily care to hear it at the time, but only three other teams beside his Lady Hornets still have a chance to win the 1A state title.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.