The next time Sulphur Springs head baseball coach Jerrod Hammack hears an umpire cry out “Play Ball!” it will me music to his ears. It is a sound he anxiously wants to hear.
But for now Hammack and other baseball and softball coaches are the twiddling their thumbs with their diamonds sitting empty, all part of the UIL ruling to halt competition due to the swine flu out break.
Nobody can take to the field for a competitive game or even a scrimmage until after May 11. The Wildcats return to play May 12 in Hallsville at 6 p.m.
“Obviously, in all my years of coaching I have never had to deal with anything like this,” Hammack said of the UIL delay which keeps his team from active team competition. “It’s an odd situation, I don’t know much about the swine flu other that what I read or see on TV. I believe you should be safe rather than sorry. Maybe even if it is an exaggeration in one direction it is better than not enough caution. Hopefully it can get under control and we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”
The Wildcats finish District 13-4A play May 12, a game which was originally set May 1 before the swine flu hit the fan and the UIL made the ruling which put the games on hold. Sulphur Springs at 6-5 was ready to take on No. 2 team in the district Hallsville on the road.
The game has plenty of playoff ramifications. The Wildcats have clinched a slot, but based on their place in the standings other teams could end up
tied and play in game, just to make the playoffs could be necessary.
Instead of pondering the possibilities and going stir crazy, Hammack and the Wildcats have decided to use the layoff almost as second start to the season.
“We’re going to go back to doing things we did in January. Kind of like a new start to the year,” Hammack said. “We’ve been working on the fundamentals, but we will do in a different way. Reintroduce some things, we won’t go stringent everyday, it will be such a long time before we play again. We’ll do our normal practices, fielding, batting practice. Probably give them off the weekend when they need to it stay fresh and focused. Really at this time of year, there’s no need for a three-hour practice and I won’t do that.”
The coach continued, “We’ll mix in some intra-squad scrimmages and fun things like that. We want some variety in what we do to keep the competitive juices flowing.”
Hammack knows his team can’t take the field until after May 11.
The Wildcats will play Hallsville May 12 and then possibly line up a warm-up games with either Paris or North Lamar or perhaps both if schedules permit.
But for now, the coach is letting his team rest from competition. The coach said other than rest, the layoff has another benefit.
“(Jake) Dougan will be back,” Hammack said. “He will be back for the first round of the playoffs. That’s good for us and gives up some pitching depth.”
|< Prev||Next >|