Jayme Lenning (right) keeps up with Crestwood (Cresco) runner in the 3200-meter (two-mile) run at the Decorah Boys Invitational on Monday. Look for complete coverage in next week’s Herald.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->SGH/Epps
Jayme Lenning (right) keeps up with Crestwood (Cresco) runner in the 3200-meter (two-mile) run at the Decorah Boys Invitational on Monday. Look for complete coverage in next week’s Herald.

SGH/Epps
Arising to see a fresh coat of white on the grass for three consecutive mornings followed by chilly daylight temperatures punctuated with lengthy periods of light rain had all spring sports coaches, players, umpires and fans fondly thinking back to springtimes past. This week's weather forecast offers only more of the same.

"I have never seen anything like it in my 17 years of coaching," said Caledonia/Spring Grove baseball coach Dave Konz, "Not even close."

A half month after the scheduled April 1 opening day, the baseball boys have yet to even practice outdoors much less see an umpire brush off the plate.

Boys golf coach Jeremy Leis said the boys and girls have been outside (on the driving range) one day only.

Distance runners are able to train outside along roadways, and the high jump mats are available in the gym. But track coach Carl Fruechte said the long jumpers and relay teams have had little or no outdoor opportunities.

The only home track meet has been canceled while another meet has been rescheduled. The boys opened the season on Monday at the Decorah Boys Invitational just before this issue went to press. The girls hope to open at a co-ed meet on April 18.

The SG/C softball team participated in the annual scrimmages at the indoor facility at Rochester Technical Community College.

However, home practice sessions have been mostly in the gymnasiums, and the first three softball games have been postponed. Five games remain on the schedule late this week.

For C/SG, the first nine baseball games have been postponed or canceled. Two late-week games remain on this week's slate.

Thus far, seven C/SG girls golf matches have been postponed or canceled. There is one playing date late this week.

The golf boys have had their first six scheduled matches fall victim to the elements while two dates remain on this week's schedule.

All six of the spring athletic programs shared by Spring Grove and Caledonia school districts participate in the Three Rivers Conference (TRC). Being on the southern end of the conference map, C/SG has not had as much snow and frost as many of their league brethren located farther north in such locales at Plainview and Wabasha.

Rescheduling golf matches is unique as no competition is held on school property. School golf depends on the benevolence of golf courses that make no money from school golf and are financed by their memberships and the paying public.

And when the playing season arrives late, the regular golf members are equally anxious to be on the links. Appreciative golf coaches realize that adding postponed school matches to the already scheduled matches in late April and May creates a logistical quandary and financial dilemma for local golf courses.

All C/SG spring sports practice sessions have been indoors at both schools. That is the case almost every year for the first few days, but never before for the first few weeks.

As unusual as is this spring, it is in stark contrast to an equally unusual 2012 when spring came earlier than ever. Leis and Fruechte recall not having to practice indoors even once last year. The Ma-Cal-Grove Golf Course in Caledonia opened on March 13.

A softball or baseball batting cage is available indoors as is high jump apparatus and nets to quickly halt golf balls coming off makeshift indoor practice tees.

"But there is only so much you can simulate indoors," added Konz who last week conducted an indoor discussion of about 15 baseball defensive "situations."

But he noted that there is a difference between knowledge of what to do and the actual execution. Since you cannot create 90-foot base paths indoors, there has not yet been any meaningful practice on that execution. And outfielders are especially limited during indoor workouts.

This is especially critical for the 2013 baseball squad, the youngest in recent memory with only two seniors and two juniors on the 22-player roster.

During a game in a normal season, Konz said he notes what needs to be worked on in an upcoming practice. But this year, there will be very few practice days with most remaining weeks now packed with make-up games.

One positive may be the extra preseason work for the pitchers. C/SG returns only one player with minimal experience on the mound in varsity games and no catchers with a varsity appearance.

Playing many make-up games during upcoming weeks creates problems for baseball pitchers. League rules limit a pitcher to no more than 14 innings pitched during three consecutive days. But Konz considers pitch count most important.

Early in the season, especially during cool weather, the veteran mentor does not like to have his pitchers throw more than 80 to 85 pitches a day.

The only conference baseball game played thus far was in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome with Wabasha-Kellogg defeating defending champion Plainview-Elgin-Millville 5-1.

Now two weeks later - track, golf, softball and baseball can only wait and watch. As this article goes to press, projected rain and possibly snow threatens the late-week schedule making likely a third straight week of postponements and cancellations.

This week's schedule*



SOFTBALL

4/18 Lewiston-Altura 4:30 p.m.

4/19 at P-E-M 5 p.m.

4/20 at Onalaska Tourament

3 games 10 a.m., 12 & 2 p.m.

BASEBALL

4/18 Lewiston-Altura 5 p.m.

4/19 St. Charles 5 p.m.

4/22 at St. Charles 5 p.m.

BOYS/GIRLS TRACK

4/18 at Lewiston-Altura 4:10 p.m.

4/22 at R-P/Houston 4:30 p.m.

GIRLS GOLF

4/20 at Hayfield Tourney 8:30 a.m.

4/22 Kingsland 4:30 p.m.

BOYS GOLF

4/18 at Stewartville Tour. 2 p.m.

4/19 at Rushford-Peterson 4 p.m.

4/22 at Kingsland 4:30 p.m.



*The Herald's Spring Sports Calendars

are printed and out at area

businesses. Stop by and pick one up

at the Herald office or Merchants Bank.

To get the most up-to-date schedule visit the Three Rivers Conference online at www.3riversconference.org.