ISHPEMING — With the official start of the season less than two weeks away, the Hematites softball team haven’t been able to get out on the field to properly practice and they don’t like it one bit.
“We have to practice in the gym a lot because we can’t go out on the field. We probably won’t be out on the field until May. We’ll probably get the first couple games cancelled due to the snow,” pitcher Sinead Korvela said.
“Definitely a total difference. We have softer balls and you have a jump coming off the floor, where on the field on sand, the hard ball doesn’t jump as much and it comes a lot faster,” said catcher Kayla Kaukola.
“It’s really difficult to get them on the field and getting used to running down fly balls, catching balls off of grass and dirt and things like that. So it definitely impacts a little bit,” head coach Ben McGuire said.
The Hematites had a good showing at the Spring Swing tournament, despite having to start four freshman, fielding one of the younger teams in the U.P. But the team says this group of underclassmen are ready for the challenge.
“This is the first year where we have winter freshman that aren’t coming from slow pitch. It’s a big difference for us having not to teach the basics the first couple of weeks so we can really try and progress more and faster during the season because they really catch on. They’re really good athletes so they’re doing pretty good this year,” Korvela said.
“We have two #1 pitchers so that’s really good. And we decided to focus on defense because if we have great pitching and great defense, we’re going to be in most games,” said McGuire.
“As we go along, we start to get closer and our confidence level goes upward. All of us on the team get a long well. We have a lot of fun so we have a good confidence level. A few of us are new so are confidence level is pretty good,” said Kaukola.
If the weather cooperates, Ishpeming will open the season April 25th at Iron Mountain.