A rainy start to the spring season has brought frustration to the Baker softball and baseball teams. Rain and even some snow and cold weather cancellations have caused the second half of both teams’ seasons to be packed with games, which can cause stress both inside and outside the classroom.
“This semester has become increasingly more stressful for all of us with each game that has been rescheduled,” sophomore softball player Olivia Brees said. “In the classroom, we are falling behind with the lack of time we can dedicate to homework and managing classes.”
Continuous cancellations can lead to makeup dates, which often fill a schedule to the brim as the season winds down.
For the Baker softball team, rescheduling games has caused its longest break between games during the season to be shortened to just two days without a game until the four-day break before Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament.
The softball team is currently scheduled to play 30 games in April, while baseball is scheduled for 18 games in April.
Softball coach Jamie Stanclift has been at Baker for five years and has never seen this many cancellations and reschedules in a Baker softball season.
“I’ve actually been very grateful,” Stanclift said. “Every season I’ve been here, we’ve had very minimal reschedules. I think we’ve had two years with zero [reschedules]. We were lucky enough that it never rained on our game days.”
The cancelling and constant rescheduling of games doesn’t leave many weekends open to play games. Along with fitting in games, another challenge student-athletes and coaches face is scheduling games that interfere the least with class time.
The Baker baseball team has had an easier time being able to get games in this season compared to softball.
Marcus Jones is a baseball player for Baker and says that the team has been very fortunate in getting games completed despite the rain, especially compared to previous seasons.
“This year honestly has been pretty good, I don’t think we’ve had any rainouts this year. I think games have been moved up to prevent rainouts later in the week, but we still got the games in,” Jones said.
Jones played on both junior varsity and varsity last year, which created conflicts with his time in class.
“It was actually pretty difficult suiting up for both JV and varsity. For example, if we played two mid-week for varsity and JV games in the same week I could potentially miss all of my Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes or potentially miss both my Tuesday, Thursdays,” Jones said. “You’re missing a lot of information that’s hard to make up.”
Jones relied on notes from classmates and working with teachers to turn in assignments early or after he got back from the games to get him through the semester, something Jones doesn’t have to worry about nearly as much this season.
“This year we had a lot of Saturday-Sunday series so that we wouldn’t miss as much class, but some of those Saturday-Sundays would be bumped up to Thursday-Fridays or Friday-Saturdays,” Jones said. “So once again, I was missing class, but I haven’t been missing nearly as much class this year. This year has been a breeze compared to last year.”
Baker softball hasn’t been nearly as lucky with its schedule this year, and more and more reschedules are taking time away from athletes in the classroom. Stanclift is appreciative of professors who have been working with her athletes to make up that missed time, but not all professors are as easy to work with.
“So far we’ve had some professors that have been handling it phenomenally,” Stanclift said. “They understand that this isn’t something we’re doing on purpose. We have a few professors who stick with their guns (on) their and academic policies, despite the circumstances, and that is creating a little bit of stress on the student-athlete.”
Brees and other softball players have been working with their teachers in advance to make up work that is due.
“We have Dean (Martha) Harris and Theresa Yetmar step in with emailing professors and make sure everyone is on the same page,” Brees said. “For the most part everyone has been very supportive in not punishing us as students for something we cannot control.”
Other schools in the Heart of America Athletic Conference are seeing the same scheduling difficulties.
Three schools in the Heart of America Athletic Conference have played only 10 total conference games.
Coaches in the Heart conference approved a 100-percent completion rule that requires teams to make up all conference games in order to participate in the conference tournament. This puts added pressure on the teams to complete their schedules to even be able to play in the tournament.
Small inconveniences besides rescheduling can effect being able to make up games as well. Not all schools in the Heart conference have lights on the field, which can take late games out of the equation.
Stanclift often works with other schools to schedule games that allow both Baker athletes and their opponents to stay in the majority of classes on game days since Cavaness Field has lights, allowing teams to play later in the day.
“At Baker we have lights, so I’ll schedule as late as the other team is willing to play,” Stanclift said, “just so that our ladies can be in classes as well as the opposing team.”
The baseball and softball teams have been working to stay positive as they make it through this month in hopes of getting to the Heart tournament at the beginning of May.
“One way we are staying positive about the situation is that we still want to play,” Brees said. “So after two weeks of just practice, we were pumped to be back out on the field last Saturday.”