Daily Egyptian

Schedule changes disrupt softball’s rhythm

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

The weather has led to seven cancellations and 14 start time changes in 31 games this Saluki softball season.

In February, six of SIU’s 18 scheduled games were cancelled and two were changed.

Coach Kerri Blaylock said early cancellations affect the batters and pitchers equally.

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“You don’t get in a rhythm,” she said. “You just have to go out and get it done.”

Game cancellations began in the Salukis’ second weekend of the season when a game was moved and another was cancelled in the Raffler Memorial Tournament beginning Feb. 13 in Kennesaw, Ga.

Senior center fielder Kalyn Harker said players cannot let cancellations affect their preparations.

“When we have a game, we have to have the mentality that we will play that day,” she said. “If it gets cancelled or rescheduled we will have practice and work on things.”

The following weekend, SIU was scheduled to travel to the Red and Blue Classic for five games in Oxford, Miss., but the tournament was cancelled because of an inclement weather forecast.

Blaylock said the cancellations were hard on the team early in the year but was glad the team went to Mexico for five games in good weather, despite finishing 1-3-1 that weekend.

“I don’t think we had a great Mexico trip,” she said. “That was the result of not playing for almost 14 days.”

Harker said going to Mexico was good for the team to get guaranteed games after early cancellations.

“The games did not go as well as we wanted to,” she said. “But we were able to see our weaknesses there and improve on those and make them strong for conference.”

The Salukis were scheduled to play their first home games of the season on March 7 and 8 in the Coach B Classic, but the games were cancelled because of weather. Instead, the team traveled to Florida for the Rebel Spring Games.

SIU played in Kissimmee, Fla. on March 8 then traveled to Winter Haven, Fla. for two games on March 9.

Blaylock said the team finally got in a rhythm in Florida.

“You have to go play,” she said. “Now all the games are shoved into one month.”

Since the Florida trip, SIU has not had a game cancelled but has had two rescheduled and had six start times changed. A game at Austin Peay on March 10 was rescheduled for April 16 and SIU’s game against Saint Louis on March 18 was rescheduled and resulted in a 7-6 loss Monday night.

Sophomore left fielder Merri Anne Patterson said she does not like game cancellations.

“It’s very draining,” she said. “I would much rather play a game than practice.”

Blaylock said she is not a proponent for a later season start date because it usually does not affect Missouri Valley Conference games.

“The weather is the weather,” she said. “You just have to go with it.”

The Salukis travel to Southeastern Missouri State for a 4 p.m. game Wednesday in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected],com or at 536-3311 ext. 269. 

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