High School Sports

Mother Nature puts outdoor spring sports on hold

2014-03-10T17:00:00Z 2014-03-13T19:37:15Z Mother Nature puts outdoor spring sports on holdSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

If a new pair of softball spikes were purchased for the start of the start of high school season on Monday, one thing is clear: The footwear can stay in the shoebox for awhile.

And moms whose daughters play softball won't be able to tell the girls, "Stop playing ball in the house." Not this spring anyway.

The same goes for baseball spikes, golf clubs and tennis racquets.

"We need some sunshine," Crown Point athletic director Bill Dorulla said.

"We need some drying time," Chesterton athletic director Garry Nallenweg added.

Northwest Indiana has been through one if its snowiest and coldest winters in decades. And while it warmed up some on Monday, more cold and snow is predicted for Tuesday night, meaning that all of the area softball teams will prepare for the season inside.

The first day teams can play games is March 24. Baseball, boys golf and girls tennis starts practice on March 17 with games allowed to begin on March 31. It is doubtful that games in our area will begin when the IHSAA says they can, region athletic directors say.

"I don't see it happening," Dorulla said.

Nallenweg said his athletic programs are up against some challenges right now. With a state-ranked gymnastics program still competing and taking up half of the school's fieldhouse for practice, spring sports are drawing straws to for indoor practice time.

Trojans softball coach LouAnn Hopson will have her softball tryouts/practices at 6 p.m., when the fieldhouse thins out a little.

"She didn't want to have to contend with runners running around the track when she was practicing," Nallenweg said.

Both Chesterton and Crown Point have an option other schools don't. With a turf football field available, if the temperature warms up and the snow and ice melts, the baseball and softball teams will be able to use that facility for some kind of practice.

Last spring asphalt parking lots were actually used for baseball and softball practices. Class 3A semistate qualifying Hanover Central's softball team did not have one outdoor practice before the Wildcats' first game.

"And this winter was worst than last," Dorulla said.

His Bulldogs' softball team has a greater issue because the clay base was taken out for a new "ag-line" surface. But the cold, snow and moisture has not allowed the staff to finish the job.

Dorulla also said the conditions will slow C.P.'s boys golf team because area golf courses are facing the same conditions.

Crown Point's fieldhouse will be used from 5 a.m. through 9 p.m. this week and likely until the weather warms up.

"There's not a lot we can do," Dorulla said. "It was to warm up and we need some time without snow or rain. Everybody's dealing with it. We're just hoping we can these teams outside at the end of March."

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