By JONATHAN McAFOOS
The winter weather has not been kind to the Youngstown State baseball team.
After starting the season in Alabama, North Carolina and Chicago, the Penguins were scheduled to begin their home slate over the weekend against Chicago State before inclement weather forced the series to be postponed. Tuesday’s scheduled game at Akron was also cancelled, leading to a messy schedule for YSU.
“It’s been a rat race trying to get everything rescheduled,” said Penguins head coach Steve Gillispie. “Everyone I’ve talked to has said this is the worst they’ve ever seen it. It’s been a bad spring for college baseball.”
It’s been so miserable, in fact, that the Penguins have had just one full outdoor practice since October.
With the poor weather and recent lack of game action, Gillispie and the Penguins have turned to the WATTS (Watson and Tressel Training Site) to get their work in. Despite being indoors, the workouts haven’t changed much.
“We’ve tried to get the same reps in as much as we can,” Gillispie said. “By now you hope the bunt defense, tandem relays and those kind of things are settled in. We’re just trying to hone our skills. The pitchers have been able to stay on their routines and keep up their arm strenth, but obviously everyone would like to be outside.”
Third baseman Drew Dosch agreed.
“It’s been a struggle this spring with the weather,” he said. “We’ve got to be flexible. Outside it’s easier to have the whole team practice together. Indoors we have to split up into groups.”
The weather has likely been a bigger adjustment for Gillispie, who spent the past 11 years at Jacksonville (Ala.) State, than it has been for his team.
“The kids have done a great job with it,” Gillispie said. “Their attitude and approach have been really good. You’ve got to play games early, and we have to go south to do that. We all kind of knew opening up that we’d be playing in games on the weekends and practicing indoors during the week.”
The Penguins (5-17, 1-2 Horizon League) will travel to Dayton today to open a series against Wright State if the weather cooperates. Their home opener is now scheduled for Wednesday against Akron.
“We’re really looking forward to our home opener,” Gillispie said. “It’s odd being 22 games into a season and still waiting to play at home.”
After going more than a week without playing, the Penguins are hoping they’ll be rested and ready to put up wins on a more consistent basis.
“We haven’t played since March 19,” Gillispie said. “Maybe it will be a good thing. Maybe we needed a break. The effort has been good. We’re just disappointed we haven’t won more.”