Spring prep teams battling cabin fever

Michaela Bruns (front) and Elk softball teammates got outside Tuesday for the first time, although they were limited to throwing on the frosty outfield turf. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Michaela Bruns (front) and Elk softball teammates got outside Tuesday for the first time, although they were limited to throwing on the frosty outfield turf. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

by Bruce Strand, SportsĀ  editor

Spring Fever is giving way to Cabin Fever for high school sports teams as Old Man Winter keeps wearing out his welcome.

As of April 10, there’s frost still in the ground, and dirty snowbanks on the edge of parking lots, as temperatures have seldom ventured above 40. A little snow persisted in front of the Elk girls softball dugout.

Zimmerman has already postponed five baseball and five softball games. Rogers has scratched two softball games and one baseball game. Also out of the question were Elk River’s baseball and softball games Wednesday and Thursday.

“This is unbelievable. The temperatures stay low, and we’ve had rain, and the rain has no place to go,” lamented Elk baseball coach Ryan Holmgren. “The first time we get outside might be the day we play our first game.”

Snow and sleet were forecast for Thursday so we may not hear “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” for a while yet.

“We’re trying to make it fun inside, so it’s not so monotonous, but the girls are getting a little ornery,” said Elk softball coach Stacy Sheetz, when asked about cabin fever.

Added Elk catcher Porter Morrell: “It’s frustrating. There’s only so much you can do indoors. Every day is different, but for the week as a whole, you do the same things three weeks in a row.”

Ball teams started to venture outside on Tuesday. Sheetz had her team play catch outdoors for the first time, on the outfield, while coaches got the big rakes out and massaged the infield.

The lacrosse teams were seen working outdoors Tuesday on high ground near Salk, after spending last week on the VandenBerge parking lot. Track teams are finally running outdoors, in sweat shirts, but field events are on hold for the most part.

“Track in the hallways isn’t much fun,” said Elk girls track coach Steve Hamilton.

Holmgren said he couldn’t remember still being inside in the third week of practice in 20-some years as a high school and college player, and coach. Sheetz said this is “getting close” to being some kind of record for her. In 2008, she recalled, the team’s first day outdoors was their first game, after having one game postponed.

Tennis meets are less often postponed, because they don’t have to play on bare ground, but the Elks home opener vs. Andover on Tuesday was postponed when there were snow flurries in the morning. The Elks did play Stillwater indoors last Saturday, winning 4-3. Early golf meets for all three District 728 teams last week were postponed. Lacrosse teams have a later start.

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