With day after day of rain leading to waterlogged fields and, in some cases, massive flooding, games have been canceled, practices moved indoors and afterschool activities simply called off altogether in the name of safety.
One team feeling more than the usual effects from the rain and flooding that hit the area is the Rome High baseball team.
Legion Field, near Riverview Park behind the levee where the Wolves play their home games, has more than just a view of the Coosa River as the field now sits well under water.
The Wolves, who are 1-1 on the season, haven’t missed any games so far, but little is known as to when the team will be able to get back on its home field.
“We lucked out, so we’re fortunate we didn’t lose any home games,” Rome baseball coach Jim Tejcek said. “I told the players we can’t control this. This is the rain and the river. But we had a good week of practice and had a good week in the gym doing some defensive stuff. We’ll probably have to do a lot of parking lot duty until we can get out there. We’ll adapt, and we won’t let it bother us.”
Friday the team was able to move its home game against Marietta to LakePoint Sporting Community in Bartow County where the Wolves came away with a 9-2 win.
Tristan Tillery earned the win for the Wolves pitching four innings of relief for Hayden Flletti. Garrett Howell scored three runs, Connor Bullard had two hits, three RBIs and a run scored, and Knox Kadum and Sevie Andrews each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
The Rome High girls’ soccer team was able to get a game in at Barron Stadium on Friday night, taking down Calhoun 2-1. Mae Pierce and Shannon Hughes each scored a goal for the Lady Wolves (2-1), and Janet Hartman and Allyson Harris had an assist each. Michele Monzalvo had six saves in goal.
Tejcek said he’s been in contact with LakePoint about further use of the facilities in Emerson and has also been contacted by other schools with offers to help. The coach has also put out the idea of possibly playing some of their home games at State Mutual Stadium as the Rome Braves’ season won’t begin until April 4, with their first homestand not until April 11.
“I’ve just introduced the idea,” Tejcek said. “They have channels to go through, but they’re right across the street (from the high school). All I can do is ask. That’d be nice if we could get something set up there. I don’t care about a scoreboard or a P.A., I just need a field. I’ve had a lot of folks come out and contact me. Marietta and Villa Rica have expressed a willingness to help out and I appreciate that.”
The Wolves have two games scheduled for next week — a game Tuesday at Rockmart and another contest against the Jackets on Thursday that is set to be played in Rome. The Wolves open their Region 7-5A schedule on March 4 against Carrollton, which is also scheduled to be a home game.
Another issue facing Tejcek is just what kind of state Legion Field will be in when the floodwaters recede. He said he’s heard it may be at least three or four weeks before that happens and they can begin to assess to the field’s condition.
“I just want to prepare for the worst,” he said. “Until we assess the damage and see how bad it is, we won’t know. We’ve done a lot of work on that field, and all that beautiful green grass is going to be gone.”
The headache for a lot of coaches is not only making sure the fields are usable as quickly as possible, but getting the games that were missed back on the schedule. While Rome High hasn’t missed any games so far, other teams in the area are not as fortunate.
The Model boys’ soccer team has been forced to postpone three region matches and one non-region match, while the Coosa baseball team has missed six games so far. Fortunately for the Eagles their region schedule doesn’t begin until March 5 and it’s still early in the season.
Tentatively, the Blue Devils hope to host Region 7-AA foe Dade County on Monday, then host Bremen on Tuesday in a non-region contest, and then visit Pepperell on Friday.
“If we have trouble again this week, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Model boys’ head coach Donnie Mendence said.
The coach added he has tried to contact the Georgia High School Athletic Association about moving the dates teams are supposed to have their regular seasons finished since schedules are getting so backed up.
“It’s not just us,” Mendence said. “It’s tennis, baseball and track. This is the craziest I’ve ever seen it. This is my ninth year, and I’ve never seen it like this.”
While Coosa’s baseball team isn’t set to begin region play until its March 5 matchup against Model, head coach Michael Dougherty said they are missing key games that are used to see which players will flourish at certain positions.
“The thing about the early part of the year is you’re trying to figure out who can help you,” Dougherty said. “The biggest thing is figuring out who you’re starting nine are going to be, but we’ve loaded up. We’re playing six games in five days next week to try to make them up.”
The Eagles will try to host Woodland on Monday and Southeast Whitfield on Tuesday, followed by a doubleheader against North Murray on the road Wednesday. The Eagles will also try to play on the weekend, but with more rain in the forecast, those games likely will also be postponed.
“It’s been a serious headache trying to reschedule these games,” Mendence said. “We’re being forced to play three games a week. Not only that, it’s been like jumping hurdles just trying to get a date. Then once we get one, we have to get officials, and there’s been a few times when they can’t do it that day.”
Unlike Legion Field, Mendence and Dougherty just have to hope their playing field dries out in time to get in the rescheduled games. Dougherty and Mendence said the fields at their school likely aren’t damaged and won’t be expensive to get game-ready. Dougherty said they keep supplies to help dry the field on hand for situations like this, and Mendence said he wished he hadn’t painted the field two weeks ago.
“Everyone plans and buys ample amounts of this stuff just because we know there won’t be great conditions,” Dougherty said. “We’ve got all of our supplies that we need. We just need some sunlight to get the grass to dry out.”
Dougherty and his team have been able to make use of an indoor facility, but the space holds little comparison to facing a team in live action.
“Everybody is dealing with it, so you just do what you can do,” Dougherty said. “I want to see live pitching, and I want to see our kids compete. That’s the most frustrating part.”