Rain drenches beginning of prep baseball season

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2001

Any player knows baseball is a study in repetition. Moves must be practiced until they become second nature. Any interruption in practice can cause setbacks, and nearly a foot of rain – well, it’s enough to make most baseball coaches cringe with fear.

With the season barely under way, that’s exactly what area high school teams face after the area was drenched by more than 10 inches of rain last week.

The weather forced the cancellation and postponement of several games. Coaches face a lost week of playing time and full practices – most settling for brief indoor practice sessions.

&uot;We were making a lot of progress. It’s put a halt on things,&uot; said Vidalia coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir. &uot;A lot of times at the beginning of the season we take one step forward and two steps back.&uot;

The Vikings haven’t been on the field for a full week, last playing at the Winnsboro Tournament.

&uot;The Cathedral game, we can get back,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;The three games in the Bolton Tournament – which is a big tournament against big teams – we can’t get those back.&uot;

&uot;Players need repetition. We worked out one day in the gym last Wednesday,&uot; he said. &uot;We as coaches were excited about getting things accomplished, and we ran into a big stop sign.&uot;

Other area coaches also share Hoffpauir’s frustration with the wet weather.

Natchez High coach Michael Lindsey said he hopes to reschedule all three Bulldogs’ games that the Bulldogs were rained out last week – home vs. St. Frederick last Tuesday, at Port Gibson Thursday and at Brookhaven Saturday. Lindsey said he hopes the rainouts will not affect the team’s momentum.

&uot;I hope we can pick up where we left off,&uot; he said. &uot;I thought we were playing pretty well the last three games (a close loss to Brookhaven and wins over Port Gibson and Franklin County).&uot;

Lindsey said the delays cut into the Bulldogs’ preparation time before district games begin.

&uot;I really wanted to get some games in and get some more pitchers some more experience, especially with district play starting Tuesday (at Provine),&uot; he said.

Adams County Christian coach Gil Morris said he’s trying to be optimistic about the rain situation.

&uot;It’s just one of those things, and you have to keep a positive attitude,&uot; Morris said. &uot;We wanted to play, but we couldn’t. … It’s unusual to see a solid week of rain here.&uot;

Morris said the early season games are important to teams because they serve to help the teams gel before district games begin.

&uot;Everyone wants to play as many games as possible for district play,&uot; he said, adding that in out of three games scheduled last week, the weather only permitted the Rebels to play one.

Trinity coach David King can relate to Morris’ worries. King’s Saints team is scheduled to host Wilkinson County Christian Academy on Monday and then face key MPSA District 5-1A opponent Tuesday at Amite School Center.

The Saints only managed one game last week, a 13-4 loss against Columbia Academy.

&uot;We’re behind,&uot; King said. &uot;But so is everybody else.&uot;

King said he hopes today’s weather will be sunny and windy so the field will dry off.

Cathedral coach Ken Beesley said the delay didn’t affect his team much as it had a fairly open schedule last week.

&uot;I tried to fill some of those days with games, but I couldn’t,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;It might have been to our benefit. Everybody’s going to be rusty because everybody’s been off.&uot;