OldArchive / Sports

The End Zone Seat: Neither Rain nor Snow...

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, the first day of high school spring sports practice on March 8, 2010, was sunny with 50-degree temperatures.

The trend continued throughout the lead-up to the season openers, causing Wyalusing Valley track coach Jim Schools to observe that it was the "best weather to start a season in many years."

That balmy first day was a distant memory last week when the area awoke to find as much as a foot and a half of drifting snow blanketing the area for the scheduled first day of practice.

As if waiting for the snow to melt wasn't enough, a drenching rain the following Thursday night caused localized small-stream flooding that forced another school cancellation on Friday.

Schools's track team was forced to do most of its limited practice time last week in the gym, although assistant coach Kathy Lutz was able to get the distance runners out at least once for a jog around the school's driveways.

"This was probably the least productive first week of practice we've ever had," Schools said Monday night.

Fortunately, the rain and warm temperatures made quick work of the snow without causing catastrophic river flooding.

The track was clear for the 100-plus athletes to take advantage of a very cool, but dry day.

Surprisingly, especially if you saw the picture of Wyalusing's baseball field that ran in last week's Rocket-Courier, head coach Dave Hitchcock had his troops out for practice Monday also.

Twenty-six athletes were either practicing infield play behind the home dugout or shagging fly balls on the field itself.

The field, while surely soggy in spots, appeared to be in fairly good shape, including a new warning track area around the dugouts and backstop. Those areas were mini-rockpiles last season after the construction of the new dugouts prior to last season.

Of course, a baseball infield is mainly grass with just the dirt in the basepaths.

A softball infield is nothing but dirt, and the snow and rain held up any pre-season preparations so far.

Last week, John Loomis's squad, which currently includes 22 players, both varsity and junior varsity, practices just one day in the old gymnasium.

Monday, they were still relegated to the gym where they could work on pitching and batting, but obviously not much in the way of fielding.

"There is no way we are getting on the field this week," a pessimistic Loomis said.

The team was able to go out Tuesday and practice on the grass in the outfield.

With any luck and some dry weather, the field will be ready for the scheduled season and home opener on March 25 with Tunkhannock.

The baseball team is scheduled to open the season at home with Sullivan County on March 28.

Both the baseball and softball teams are scheduled to host Montrose on March 29.

The track team opens on the road at Hughesville on March 29 and opens at home two days later with a meet against Tunkhannock and Sayre.

Spring sports schedules are always a tricky thing given the wild swings in weather in the Northern Tier in March and April.

Hopefully, that over-rated whistle pig's prediction of an early spring will come true and we'll be able to play ball on time.

Stephan Tewksbury, Jordan Knapp and Tyler Sutton run the track during practice for Wyalusing Valley's upcoming season.

Wyalusing Valley's Dom Ciccolini fields a grounder during practice on March 14. It marked the first day of outdoor practice for the Rams' baseball team in preparation for the season opener on March 28.

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