Winter storm deals blow to spring teams' preparation

Winter storm deals blow to spring teams' preparation

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Winter storm deals blow to spring teams' preparation

Roosevelt's Jon Santos gets a hit during a game against Spackenkill last year.

Roosevelt’s Jon Santos gets a hit during a game against Spackenkill last year.

Winter threw a haymaker at the mid-Hudson Valley on Tuesday, and area scholastic teams preparing for the spring season felt the punch.

Tuesday’s blizzard dropped around two feet of snow, and the elements impacted teams in several ways.

Not only did teams lose practice and tryout time on Tuesday and Wednesday with schools closed, but they will be forced to prepare indoors as opposed to outdoors for the foreseeable future. With temperatures expected to remain in the high-30s and low-40s for the remainder of the week and into next week, the snow could linger, causing coaches to alter their teams’ practice routines.

Schools competing in Section 1 began spring practices Monday, while Section 9 schools started a week before, on March 6. Teams must practice a minimum number of times before they can compete in a game, and the number of practices they must hold vary from sport to sport. The amount of snow will affect scheduling the practices, as games begin at the end of the month.

Coaches are struggling to keep their players inspired, too, as they would prefer to be on a field at this time of the year than in a gym.

“Athletes can only do so much inside,” Franklin D. Roosevelt High School baseball coach Kory VanZandt said. “You’re always looking for new drills you can incorporate in the gym. Keeping them motivated is part of the task as well.”

VanZandt has coached the Roosevelt baseball team for nine years. He couldn’t recall a time, over that span, in which a snow storm disturbed preseason this greatly.

A view of Mount Carmel Place in the City of Poughkeepsie, with the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park looming overhead.

A view of Mount Carmel Place in the City of Poughkeepsie, with the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park looming overhead.

The Presidents are slated to open their season on April 1, against Spackenkill.

Likewise, the Spartans have been affected.

“We’re going to have to be a little more creative with more practice time inside as opposed to getting out at all,” Spackenkill baseball coach Don Neise said. “And we have to find ways to keep them on task, keep them focused on working on individual skills. Hopefully, that’ll translate on to the field, if and when we get out there.”

Similarly, it’s been difficult on the Arlington softball team.

Admirals coach Dave Ballantyne said his team would prefer to be outdoors, practicing on the field — which he said was in great condition before the blizzard struck.

Instead, he has had his team hit in the school’s indoor batting cages and might utilize Gold’s Gym in LaGrange because the softball diamond is blanketed with snow.

“Unfortunately, (the snow storm had) bad timing,” Ballantyne said. “One advantage is, we have indoor batting cages. So even if we’re stuck inside for a week, we have the opportunity to do some batting practice.”

Arlington is scheduled to open its season against host Eastchester on March 29, after scrimmaging against Monroe-Woodbury on March 27.

Mike Galantich is still in the process of building the Our Lady of Lourdes girls lacrosse team. His tryout schedule was disrupted on account of the inclement weather and has to make changes to his team’s routine.

Holding practices inside, he said, will make it difficult mimicking game action.

“We’re trying to keep a stick in everyone’s hand. We work on skills and drills to keep them sharp,” Galantich said. “There’s nothing like being on a field. You can create game situations. You can kind of do it in the gym, but it’s not the same.”

The Warriors are opening their season on March 27, on the road against Pearl River.

A.J. Martelli: amartelli@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports

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