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Snowstorm stymies spring sports

Snow covered seats remain idle at New Market's Rebel Park on Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Snow hangs on trees outside he concession stand at Rebel Park in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily

Snow stands on the outfield fence at Rebel Park in New Market on Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Snow covered seats remain idle at New Market's Rebel Park on Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

The weather has had a big impact on spring sports this season, but no one has been affected as hard as Sherando's baseball team.

The Warriors have only been on their field for half of a practice all season, according to coach Pepper Martin, and they've only played two games -- both on the road.

"This is my 31st year coaching in Frederick County, at James Wood and Sherando, and we've never experienced this type of weather this late," Martin said. "We're really tired of the gym. But you have to do what you have to do."

Day after day, the Warriors have had to practice in the gym. Martin said he feels like the players have handled it well.

Even though they have had a good attitude, the players are still very anxious to get back outside on their field.

"It's really frustrating knowing, yeah, we get to go practice, but we go in here and hit the cage again and can't really do much," Sherando junior Chase Smallwood said. "You want to go outside and toss long-toss -- you can't really do it because there's snow on the ground all the time."

The Warriors were originally scheduled to have played five games by now, but have only played two. To make matters worse, they had to switch their game with James Wood from home to away due to their field conditions.

Every other public school baseball team has played at least four games this season.

"We're always the last ones to make it outside," Martin said. "There's a lot of shade up here in Stephens City, and it doesn't thaw out as quickly. Plus, we got a tree line up there, which doesn't help the thawing-out process."

Sherando is hardly the only one affected by the weather. Skyline baseball coach Ben Taylor said last week that his team had also not been able to practice on their field, although they had played two games there.

One school that hasn't had as many problems has been Central.

The Falcons have played five games in both baseball and softball, including one district game. Central had to move up a game with George Mason because that school was on spring break this week. So the Falcons had no baseball, softball or soccer games scheduled for this week.

Central baseball coach Donn Foltz said they have been inside and outside about 50/50 so far this spring. He said the players haven't been too bothered by the affects of the weather.
"We have a great group of kids this year," Foltz said. "They work hard. I think they've handled it all really well."

To this point, most of the schools aren't too backed up with scheduling, but if more rain -- or even worse, snow -- falls in the area, that could quickly change.

Central athletic director Kenny Rinker said that they will do everything they can to make sure all the games get played.

"I'm a firm believer that if you have non-district games, you should make every effort to play them," Rinker said. "Whether that's trying to play on a Saturday, or playing doubleheaders, I feel like if you don't play all the scheduled games then you're cheating the kids."

Martin said the Warriors are now looking at having to play four games in a week in some cases to get all the games in.

Sherando's baseball team has a new scoreboard, which has yet to be put up. The Warriors aren't scheduled to play their first home game until April 6, a make-up game with Brentsville.

Practicing inside hasn't had a bad effect on Sherando in its two games, as they scored 33 runs in the two wins.

Smallwood said the players can't wait to play again, especially on their home field.

"I think we'll be anxious, chomping at the bit to get out there and beat everybody," Smallwood said. "Go out there and play our best game."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com


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