Updated: April 18, 2014 6:11AM
Heading into his 15th season as Mount Carmel’s baseball coach, Brian Hurry is used to springtime weather in Chicago.
Hurry and the Caravan were primed to open the team’s defense of its Class 4A state championship Monday, welcoming Lake View to Haggerty Field.
Because of winter’s wrath across the Chicago area, consider this a reign delay for Hurry and Co.
Monday is the first day the IHSA allows baseball and softball games to be played. However, near-record snowfall and fluctuating air temperatures have put the diamond openers on hold.
“It’s just been at a different level this year,” Hurry said. “We practiced once outside, but then it snowed again (last week), so it was a bit of a tease. The weather always presents a challenge, but as a baseball coach you’re used to it.”
Trapped indoors through the first weeks of practice, Hurry has done everything he can to keep his team sharp: drills, batting practice, classroom sessions, even a yoga session to switch things up. The Caravan, though, is itching to get outdoors.
Mount Carmel has an agreement to play games at Chicago State on March 28 vs. Bremen and March 30 in a three-team round-robin with Lincoln-Way East and Glenbard East, with games at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
“There’s certainly a lot of excitement, and these games put some wind into the coaches’ and players’ sails,” Hurry said. “We’re ready to go and just waiting for when it will happen. We went out to (our) field and saw dirt. It was very, very saturated.”
For Chicago Christian baseball coach/athletic director Eric Brauer, no game Monday certainly will be an odd feeling. The previous three years the Knights opened the season, sometimes in frigid temperatures, against Bloom.
This year, though, because of the weather and field conditions, Brauer canceled his team’s first two games, scheduled against Bloom and Rich South, early last week. Brauer and his team shoveled the snow off the field, only to have an additional snowfall nullify their work.
“It’s tough to concede being in the gym for two more weeks, but you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” Brauer said. “The kids know we’ll be out there when we can. The IHSA won’t extend the season, so we’ll make the best of what’s available.”
Brauer does expect the Knights to play two games Saturday when the team travels to downstate Jacksonville, going up against Midwest Central and Valmeyer.
With the luxury of a turf football field, Lincoln-Way East softball coach Elizabeth Pawlicki took advantage last week, letting the Griffins loose before the midweek snow.
Her goal was to remind her players why they love to play after being cooped up inside for weeks.
“We were out there about an hour, and I just wanted them to enjoy it,” Pawlicki said. “Flyballs, taking grounders, throwing some, just soak up the weather. Make it enjoyable after all the frustration of being inside.”
With the threat of numerous cancellations and makeup games, Pawlicki said the focus will be getting in all the team’s SouthWest Suburban Blue games. By May, with (hopefully) good weather, she wants the Griffins in peak form.
“Come May, we want to hit the ground running,” Pawlicki said. “For now, keep watching the weather and know everyone is affected. Everyone wants to get outside.”