Prep softball

Frigid temps have area softball teams begging for some sunshine

2013-04-05T19:00:00Z 2013-04-09T22:45:09Z Frigid temps have area softball teams begging for some sunshineSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

On Tuesday night, Mallory McKee was doing what she loved. She was on a softball field competing. It is what the Chesterton junior was born to do.

But at Merrillville, the Trojans' first baseman experienced what many region softball players have dealt with three weeks into this season, Mr. Freeze with a bowl of ice cream and no overcoat.

"At one point in that game I couldn't feel any part of my body," McKee said. "It was that cold."

Northwest Indiana has always been cool to cold in the spring. But what has made this season so odd is that there hasn't been one warm-up. And with last year's spring having Al Gore screaming about global warming, it's made this freeze all that much more complete.

"I've been doing this 24 or 25 years," Hanover Central coach Larry McMillen said. "It's never been this cold for this long."

His Wildcats played River Forest last Thursday and Chesterton on Friday and it was the first two times his team had been outside.

Lowell's Pete Iussig has been coaching spring sports for 30 years, 23 as a varsity softball coach. He said this is the first time his team hasn't gotten outside once before the Red Devils' first scheduled game.

Lowell's first three games were canceled.

"It's been pretty rough on the girls, it's not a pleasant experience at all," Iussig said. "I know they know that the other team has to play in it so they have to grin and bear it, but it's been miserable.

"I wish softball was a fall sport. It would be much better, but I know the IHSAA won't change it."

That's what has been so tough on Times No. 1 Chesterton, said coach LouAnn Hopson. Through seven games the Trojans have only had four outdoor practices.

"It's been the hardest on our defense," Hopson said. "There's only so much you can do in the gym. I have 'gym flooraphobia.' I don't want my kids getting hurt."

Lake Central coach Jeff Sherman said the wind chill at the Indians' game at LaPorte was 27. While he knows that batters' hands are being roughed up with inside pitches and the stinging is unreal, Sherman is more concerned with his pitchers.

Especially junior Lily Del Toro.

"This is not a cold-weather sport," Sherman said after Thursday's Chesterton game. "It's been unbearable so far."

Del Toro agreed 100 percent.

"I know pitchers are throwing it inside so it hurts more," Del Toro said. "We're over-dressing. We're wearing two, three layers of Under Armour. It does make it harder to pitch when you have all of those clothes on."

Del Toro said that she's had trouble feeling the tips of her fingers when it's cold, which makes the movement pitches that much harder to control. Hopson agreed.

She said it's been very difficult for her ace, Megan Tymorek, to throw her drop ball.

"We just have to deal with it," Tymorek said. "There's nothing we can do about it."

The forecast predicted a warm day today. But next week, if the weathermen are correct, it will be cold and rainy, which means more of the same.

"We're all waiting for a day in the 80s," Hopson said. "I've seen it snow in April games before. It's the same for everybody so you just have to keep on fighting it through.

"But I can't wait for it to warm up."

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