Through all of March and even into early April, Mother Nature has reared her ugly, and downright chilly, head.
In what was the fifth coldest March on record for the Effingham area, many local teams were forced to cancel multiple baseball games or try to reschedule them for later dates.When teams have been brave enough to take the diamond, long sleeves and all, pitchers have taken the mound with temperatures in the 30s. Add in the wind chill, and these gunslingers are hurling fastballs as spectators sit under as many layers as they could drag from their cars. Others choose to skip that step entirely and just remain cozy as they take in the game from behind the windshield.No matter what the case may be, players have undoubtedly been affected by the wintry playing conditions."It's really difficult on pitchers," Dieterich coach Jamie VanScyoc said. "To go out and have that type of temperature, and really be able to compete at a high level, it's tough to be able to go long into games with the temperature being like that."For the Movin' Maroons, March's difficult playing conditions forced them to cancel six games, and VanScyoc said that while he's actively looking to reschedule a few of those, they may be more trouble than they're worth."It's difficult for us when you get into playing three, four games a week," he said. "With a small school district, we have only 16 kids on our entire roster, we're going to get into some pitching problems." The regular rigors of playing multiple games a week already impacts smaller schools like Dieterich, and playing more than a handful of games to make up for lost time puts these limited rosters at a severe disadvantage.While larger teams have a stable of capable pitchers they can turn to when they're playing a fifth game in as many days, local teams struggle to match that kind of pitching depth."You start running out of arms," VanScyoc said. "You have to start throwing kids that you normally wouldn't. It puts us at a little bit of a disadvantage, putting a kid on the mound that doesn't quite have the experience that the older guys that do pitch regularly have."Though VanScyoc admits that pitching has been impacted by the harsh temperatures, he said that doesn't necessarily mean that scoreboards are being lit up with runs.