Weather affects spring sports

Wartburg softball head coach LeighAnn LaFave shovels snow at Lynes Softball Field on Saturday morning. LaFave’s team was supposed to play at Cornell on Saturday before it was postponed.  —Nathan Ford/TRUMPET

Wartburg softball head coach LeighAnn LaFave shovels snow at Lynes Softball Field on Saturday morning. LaFave’s team was supposed to play at Cornell on Saturday before it was postponed. —Nathan Ford/TRUMPET

Instead of grabbing a whistle and clipboard Saturday morning, LeighAnn LaFave picked up a shovel.

LaFave and her Wartburg softball team were scheduled for a doubleheader at Cornell but the games were postponed to April 10 due to poor weather conditions.

The team took advantage of their off day to clear the snow off Lynes Softball Field.

“Obviously I’m sure they have homework or other things they want to do on a Saturday but part of a building a program is doing the extra little things and obviously we need a field to play so we’re going to shovel and do what we need to do,” LaFave said.

Senior infielder Ashley Bienemann said it was very difficult to get up and shovel snow instead of playing softball.

“We would have been up at this time leaving for our game so none of us really had anything planned or scheduled but to come out here and do this, I’m sure we’re all gonna be sore,” Bienemann said.

The baseball team was supposed to open conference play with two doubleheaders at Coe last weekend but those were also postponed. The Knights and Kohawks will play two in Cedar Rapids on May 5. They will play a non-conference doubleheader on April 2 at 1 p.m., also in Cedar Rapids.

Meanwhile, the track teams were scheduled to open their outdoor season with two meets in Missouri over the weekend but elected not to travel due to forecasted weather.

The women’s golf team opened 2012 spring practice on Monday, March 26. The high temperature was 54 degrees and there wasn’t a lick of snow on the ground.

This year the Knights are opening practice inside and will hope to open the spring portion of their schedule on April 13 in Cedar Rapids.

“This time last year we were definitely outside by the last week in March which is when we typically start practicing but it’s not looking so good this year,” senior golfer Kelsi Sawatzky said.

Wartburg qualified for the NCAA Championships, which take place in May, at the Iowa Conference championships last fall.

Teams from warmer climates have an advantage by being able to play year round and not worry about the snow.

Sawatzky said the indoor hitting range and putting area that was built in “The W” last year has helped the players since they aren’t able to practice outside in the winter.

“Even though you can’t tell where the ball is going you can still feel, we know about our swings well enough to know when we’re hitting bad shots or when we’re hitting good shots. Just getting in here and getting the repetitions I think helps a lot,” she said.

The baseball team’s home opener is scheduled for Friday while the softball team is hoping to open their home slate on Wednesday with a doubleheader with Grinnell at 4 p.m.

UPDATE: The softball team’s doubleheader with Grinnell has been postponed due to poor field conditions with no makeup date announced. Their next home game is scheduled for April 9, a doubleheader against Loras at 4 p.m.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 30’s at the beginning of the week but increase to the 40’s and even lower 50’s by the weekend.

“It’s hard to go play games in Florida and then to have to come back and go back inside,” Bienemann said, referring to the team’s Winter Break trip . “We’re definitely looking forward to playing outside once the field’s ready.”

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