Out early helps: Warm weather beneficial for baseball, softball teamsA year ago today, 11 inches of snow blanketed Jamestown, not only prolonging winter another few weeks but also thwarting the early stages of the spring season.
A year ago today, 11 inches of snow blanketed Jamestown, not only prolonging winter another few weeks but also thwarting the early stages of the spring season.
Teams were forced to push back their season-openers and take shelter for practices, but this year has been a completely different scenario.
“I think attitude-wise it benefits the team,” said Blue Jay baseball coach Cory Anderson of the early spring-like conditions. “When you can be outside and smell the grass, you obviously know that you’re closer to getting the season started instead of avoiding snow banks on your way to the gym to do indoor practice.”
Jamestown is scheduled to open the season Apr. 5 on the road against Valley City, over a week earlier than last year when the Blue Jays kicked off the season on Apr. 13 as hosts to Bismarck Century.
“It’s great to be outside,” said Anderson. “I think we’re still realistic enough to know that it can still go the other direction in a hurry, but we’ve got a good start and I think that if it does come back, it’s not even going to be something that stays with us as far as the white stuff is concerned.”
The “white stuff” has been fairly scarce throughout most of the winter, and now the Blue Jays are reaping the benefits.
“The things you can do in the gym has a lot of benefits — you can talk to the kids without screaming above some of the elements, everybody’s not so spread out so it’s easy to communicate,” said JHS softball coach Mike Soulis. “But we’ve been able to get our outfielders outside and have had them see some fly balls, and obviously you can’t duplicate that inside a gym. “
The softball team is entering its first season as a varsity program after competing as a junior varsity team last season.
The Blue Jays have roughly 25 players out for the season, but it’s not just the numbers that Soulis is excited about.
“We’ve talked as coaches, and where we were at last year to where we’re at this year, we’re so much further along,” said Soulis. “A lot of the stuff has been review so far, whereas last year it was teaching. … We’ve got a long ways to go but we’re so much farther ahead this year than where we were last year.
“It’s fun to see the kinds progressing how they should.”
The JHS softball team is scheduled to kick off the season Apr. 4 on the road against Valley City before hosting their first-ever varsity game on Apr. 10 against Turtle Mountain.
“We have a lot of kids back and we have some new faces,” Soulis said. “We’re actually ahead of where we were last year number-wise, so we’re really pleased where we’re at.”
The Blue Jay baseball team, which was picked to finished seventh in the West Region in the preseason coaches’ poll, finished 10-12 last year, including an early exit in the West Region tournament.
“This has given us a good opportunity to get outside and practice,” said Anderson. “We’ll just see if it affords us the same luxuries when our game season starts, because that’s obviously when it’s really important.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/DGriswoldSun