Sometimes a team’s biggest opponent isn’t the one its facing on the field or the court. For Floyd County teams this season, it’s been the rain. A lot of rain.
The rain recorded by the weather gauge at Richard B. Russell Airport shows 11.33 inches of rain fell in February, which was the most in the last two decades. The rain and resulting flooding has wreaked havoc on schedules and fields of area teams, resulting in frustration and extra work for coaches.
Rome High first-year baseball coach Brent Tucker and his players and coaches were behind the levee Thursday working to get Legion Field back in playing condition. The Wolves are scheduled to host a home game against Carrollton on Friday at 5:55 p.m. to open Region 7-5A play.
“The boys have tried to stay upbeat. It’s affected them some — the morale,” Tucker said. “We’ve had a lot of late nights, but they’ve done really well. They’re tired of it, but they continue to work throughout it. We were a better team in January than we are now, but we haven’t practiced on the field since Feb. 3.”
The Wolves have been playing their home games at LakePoint Sports Complex and have been using the indoor facilities at Rome Diamond Academy for practice. However, all of those fixes also ramp up the cost of games and take away from money the team makes at home games.
“It’s tough — the rescheduling part of it,” Tucker said. “We’ve been able to get in 11 games. One week, we played five games at LakePoint. Of course that’s expensive when you’re trying to raise money to pay for games and you’re not making any money back.”
Last year, the area was also affected by heavy rains and flooding, but Armuchee baseball coach Andy Henderson said he thinks this year’s weather has been worse. The rainfall total for January and February of 2020 totaled 0.83 inches more than last year during the same period.
Henderson said they’ve had to move practices indoors, but that doesn’t transition as well to the baseball field.
“We’ve had three practices outside and eight baseball games,” Henderson said. “It’s just bad. We’ve got an indoor cage. We can do everything just on a smaller scale. When we get outside I have to remind them that we’re outside and the bases are 90 feet apart.”
Fortunately for area baseball teams, region schedules are just now getting underway.
“We’re going to get in the 14 region games,” Henderson said. “If we have to play doubleheaders or whatever. Everything we have right now has a make-up date.”
The Indians are set to travel to Adairsville on Friday and North Murray on Saturday. They’ll open region play Tuesday on the road against Gordon Central.
Henderson said his team will try to make up games by rescheduling more games during the week, but that poses its own set of problems when it comes to the team’s lineup.
“We’re going to be playing six days a week with JV and varsity combined,” Henderson said. “The problem is you don’t have many pitchers, so you really have to monitor pitches.”
First-year Coosa boys’ soccer coach Phil Wood said his team has missed around eight matches that were supposed to take place on the Eagles home field, and rescheduling the games is getting difficult.
“The playing conditions at Coosa are not really good at all,” Wood said. “We’re playing on a field that doesn’t drain very well, and when you walk on the field you just sink into it while you’re out there.”
Wood said his team is physically in shape, but without getting on the field and missing so many games, it’s hard to judge how well his team is playing.
“It’s a real challenge,” Wood said. “We’ve been focusing on conditioning as a team, so our guys are really in shape, but the fact that we can’t get on the field is inhibiting us from checking where we are as a team.”
Wood said they are looking at scheduling more games in the week and on Saturdays to make up the games, but at this point, he said getting all the games in is going to be challenging.
“We’re really struggling at getting games rescheduled,” Wood said. “It’s not just getting both teams together and setting a date. The other side is getting officials. We’ve rescheduled several games only to find out there’s no officials. At this point, it’s just about meeting the region schedule.”