If there are any groundhogs living around the baseball and softball diamonds of Greater Pittston and Old Forge they better be careful. There are Patriots, Warriors and Blue Devils looking for them with baseball bats in hand.
It sure hasn’t been pretty despite Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring some two months ago. Mother Nature just will not let up on the Spring Sports teams in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Beginning with last Friday when the Wyoming Valley Conference was set to open its baseball and softball seasons, rain – and snow in some places – coupled with cold temperatures and fields in no condition to play ball on, has crippled the Pittston Area, Wyoming Area and Old Forge diamond teams.
Only the WA softball team – which played a few exhibition games in the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome – has taken to the field more than three times.
The weather had postponed 70 of the 94 games that have been scheduled in the WVC and Lackawanna League. Despite being the “southern” conference in District 2, the WVC has completed just 19.5 percent (9 of 46) of its games. The LL has played just over 31 percent (15 of 48) of its games.
Those are some crazy numbers when dealing with high school athletes – especially pitchers – who aren’t exactly perfecting their craft in typical NEPA weather, never mind the below 50 degree weather we have been experiencing.
Monday was the best day as five of the six Greater Pittston teams played, although Old Forge’s baseball game with Dunmore was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain and darkness. It was slated to be completed three different times during the week. All were rained out.
No baseball or softball games were played on Tuesday and Wednesday, and only one was played and completed on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday’s Old Forge baseball game against Holy Cross was only played because of the work of Blue Devils manager Tony “Toma” DiMattia, his staff and former borough Mayor and Pagnotti Park caretaker Frank DiGennari.
Friday’s Wyoming Area game against Tunkhannock was only played because the Warriors were probably just tired of being cancelled. Playing in a steady rain from the first pitch, the field quickly turned into a bog. But the Warriors are just die-hards – and mudders obviously. They actually practiced on a snow-covered Atlas Field early in the season.
The Lady Warriors tried to match their baseball counterparts just across the Atlas Sports Complex, but rain stopped its game with Tunkhannock in the bottom of the first. Rain stopped the PA baseball game on Friday in the top of the first.
But it’s not only the diamond teams being held back by the weather.
The track and field teams have participated in only one meet – a Wyoming Area victory two weeks ago. The Patriots have yet to get on the track with both schools being weathered out this past week. Only half the WVC track and field meets have been run to date.
On the tennis courts, things were going well for the boys’ teams in the area. Well before the last day of March.
Before March 31, all 18 WVC matches were played and completed. They were played in less than favorable weather, but still they played. After March 31, only four of 18 WVC tennis matches have been played.
Soccer has had the most success playing matches. Who says girls aren’t tough?
Sixty-five percent (21 of 32) of soccer matches have been played, some regardless of weather and field conditions. Pittston Area played North Pocono on Wednesday in a steady rain in 37-degree weather.
The diamond teams tried to get some games in yesterday, and next week the weathermen are predicting high temps and less rain. Who knows if they will be right. But the spring sports athletes – and the groundhogs in the area - are praying they are.