Like most area high school sports teams, the East Longmeadow baseball program has been anxious to hit the field.
“The field is underwater, so it's really just to find gym time and get the kids in here and get them motivated,” East Longmeadow Head Coach Scott Whelihan said.
With the constant change of weather conditions in early April, teams have been forced to practice indoors.
“It's just you can't get the feel for it, you can't get out,” East Longmeadow Senior Nick Shea said. “You can't let your arm loose, you can't hit like you want to outside and get a feel for it.”
While the Spartans are waiting for their time to come, a former baseball player from East Longmeadow has already taken his place on the diamond.
Nick Ahmed, a graduate of East Longmeadow, played college baseball at the University of Connecticut is now the starting shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I think it's pretty cool that a guy who's on ESPN, playing shortstop for the diamondbacks walked thru these halls,” East Longmeadow Senior Dan Lombardo said. “(Ahmed) played on that field, had the same coaches and knew the same people, so that's kind of cool.”
Whelihan credits Ahmeds' strong work ethic for his success.
“Every day after practice after everybody left, he'd be there hitting off the tee or taking ground balls,” Whelihan said.
That identical work ethic that has taken Ahmed to the top level of baseball is motivation for the Spartans.
“They (Spartans) talk about Nick all the time,” Whelihan said. “He's actually helping the program because he's up there, because now the kids can see, the sky is the limit.”