BRISTOL - Spring sports had been set to begin for all teams this week, but that hasnâ€™t been the case.
While some teams have gotten underway with their seasons, others havenâ€™t been as fortunate with the weather having an impact on scheduling games and practicing on a consistent basis at the teamsâ€™ normal practice facilities.
And with the impending weather at the end of this week, the concerns could grow.
â€śIt wasnâ€™t a huge deal until this week,â€ť Bristol Central head baseball coach Bunty Ray said. â€śIt kind of set us back more than anything with it being this week. The hardest part is keeping the motivation up, but our kids are pretty positive. We got outside enough. The impending weather forecast worries me the most. This may be a different interview if we talk next week.â€ť
Terryville baseball/softball, Bristol Central boys lacrosse, St. Paul girls lacrosse, Berlin baseball, Southington baseball, Plainville softball, Newington boys lacrosse, Southington boys lacrosse, Newington girls lacrosse and Newington boys volleyball have all played at least one game - most of which took place this past Saturday, the seasonâ€™s opening day.
â€śAny game you can get in is an absolute bonus,â€ť St. Paul athletic director David Dennehy said. â€śIt comes and goes. Last year we had a big snowstorm before the start of the spring season, but then spring came and everything was set. The biggest thing is practice. Itâ€™s tough getting quality practice time in.â€ť
For area baseball teams, a recent rule change is set to bring challenges.
The CIAC instituted a pitch count rule last season, which will be important to monitor in terms of how it impacts each team. With it, pitching depth could have more of an impact than it already does on how a team performs.
In order for an individual to pitch in successive days, no more than 25 pitches may be thrown. A day of rest is required for 26-50 pitches, two days of rest for 51-75, three days for 76-110 and five days in the case a pitcher who throws more than 110 pitches in a single outing.
â€śThe greatest challenge is going to be the pitch count rule, with the weather impacting the schedule,â€ť Ray said. â€śYouâ€™re going to be playing four games a week sometimes and back-to-back games. Thatâ€™s the bigger concern for me.â€ť
The challenges, though, all started with practices leading up to the season, something that has become common. Snow derailed teams from getting on the fields for their respective sports and with it baseball teams have seen time in the batting cages, golf teams at the driving range and lacrosse teams in the gyms.
For the tennis teams, weather hasnâ€™t been as big of an issue. Having the ability to play indoors allows teams to practice on a similar surface that theyâ€™ll face outdoors with hard courts. The only thing missing is outdoor elements such as wind and differing temperatures.
â€śThe weather has been tough and weâ€™ve been indoors a few times,â€ť Newington boys tennis coach Don Lukowski said. â€śThe practice elements indoors are perfect, since you have no outdoor elements and you can really focus on your strokes. On the other side of things you want to deal with the elements because thatâ€™s what youâ€™re going to be dealing with all season. In terms of the difference in courts, there isnâ€™t a significant difference. Itâ€™s just the outdoor elements missing.â€ť
For other spring sports, practicing on different surfaces is a significant difference. A lacrosse team practicing on wooden floors in a gym, a golf team not experiencing the layout of a course or a baseball team not fielding within a baseball diamond presents coaches with a challenge, especially with many teams still configuring their best lineups.
While the weather limits the athletes in terms of playing time because of cancellations and field limitations, another challenge it presents is durability, with schedules likely becoming more compact.
â€śMost everybody is in the same boat with this,â€ť Dennehy said. â€śADs and leagues are good with working together and making the most of it. We want to make sure itâ€™s safe for the kids, also. Obviously the weather makes us more hard-pressed to squeeze games in throughout the weeks.â€ť
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ