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Grant Traylor: (Lack of) weather changing the game

Apr. 22, 2012 @ 11:11 PM

No one ever thought that absolutely, wonderful weather would cause any problems during high school baseball and softball season.

Now, everyone is seeing that 2012 truly has been an exception to the rule.

One of the greatest years that I can remember covering games in terms of weather has wreaked havoc on everyone down the stretch.

How could that be, you ask?

Simple.

Most teams have exceeded their allotment for scheduling games because they expect several games to be rained out per year.

In fact, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission sets forth limitations for how many regular-season contests a team can play. For baseball and softball, that number is 32.

For a pair of local teams, that number is quickly approaching.

In softball action, Cabell Midland was scheduled to host Sluggerfest over the weekend and at the beginning of the week, there were eight teams entered.

However, one team dropped out early in the week and another offered to drop out to make an even number of teams, bringing the number to six. After a couple more teams didn't want to travel for a six-team tournament, that number became four, forcing the cancellation of the tournament.

It actually didn't work out poorly for the Knights, who now sit at 24-2 following a 3-0 win on Friday over St. Albans.

That's because the 32-game limit is quickly approaching and would've been pushed to the brink had the tournament been made.

"We ran into a situation where if we made the finals, we wouldn't be able to play the game," Cabell Midland softball coach Jeanne Lunsford said.

Lunsford actually had canceled the game with St. Albans, originally scheduled for Thursday, due to the influx of games this season and the likelihood of the teams playing in Sluggerfest. Once Sluggerfest was canceled, however, the game was rescheduled for Friday evening.

It is only one complex scenario facing teams in the area this year.

Spring Valley's baseball team is in a similar boat with 23 games in the books and six more scheduled for this week.

The Timberwolves have had just one game rained out this season -- that being a contest at Ripley. Head coach Jim Hensley has yet to call to reschedule the game and does not anticipate doing so at this point.

"We haven't made an attempt to reschedule because we are afraid to reschedule," Hensley said. "We may have to cancel one or two more at the end if we don't have any rained out this week."

Hensley said he hasn't seen a year like this in which nothing on the schedule has really changed. His team has had two weeks in which they played seven games and this week's slate offers six more.

With sectionals not starting until May 7 at the earliest, it makes for some troubling times.

Another aspect to look at is that many teams in the postseason schedule "regular-season" contests in between sectionals and regionals during the time that WESTEST is being conducted.

If those games count against the 32 regular-season contests, several teams will not be able to afford that luxury of keeping their team fresh during the lull in postseason play.

Yes, it truly has been a beautiful year full of baseball and softball action, concession foods and sunshine.

But now, that sunshine isn't the only thing making everyone sweat as the season's end draws near.

SPECIAL THANKS: Many thanks to people who came to the Dusty Kincaid Classic at Huntington High last Tuesday, and to those who have made donations to the Dusty Kincaid Fund.

If you were a winner at the silent auction at the Dusty Kincaid Classic and have yet to pay for your items, please contact me at the contact information listed below.

Those wishing to still donate to the Dusty Kincaid Fund can do so at First Sentry Bank locations in Huntington or Barboursville.

SP's TAYLOR SIGNING: South Point golf standout Callie Taylor is signing on Monday to play collegiate golf at North Greenville University.

Taylor finished as low scorer in a pair of matches for the Pointers during the 2011 golf season, and she also won an event on the Tri-State Junior Golf Tour in July.

North Greenville is an NCAA Division II school that competes in the Conference Carolinas and is located in Greenville, S.C.

Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com.

 

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