Local high schools get creative on where to practice for spring sports

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While it may be hard to believe after Friday's nor'easter, the spring sports season starts for western Massachusetts high schools in just about two weeks.

Warm days over the last couple of weeks, combined with the recent rain and snowfall has forced teams to be very creative with where and how they practice. West Springfield High senior softball player Haley Dover told Western Mass News she'd rather see snow then rain.

"The rain destroys the field and its a complete mudfest and it's not fun to practice in," said Dover.

West Springfield High School Athletic Director Glenn Doulette said he plans on all spring sports to be indoors for at least the first two weeks. "Sometimes we have to be creative, use the middle school gym, we use parking lots," said Doulette. With at least 300 spring athletes to coordinate; between tennis, lacrosse, boys volleyball, girls and boys track, softball and baseball, Doulette said the weather may not be on their side, turf is. "We're lucky, we have turf so that gives us a little flexibility with all this water its not much of a factor. We'll pull baseball or softball out at night, put up the lights, it's very cold," Doulette added.

"If its snowing or raining outside we have to share the gym. We have to rotate the times. Sometimes we're right after school, sometimes we have to wait until at like 6 p.m., so that's what we do until the fields are finally dry and it's not going to snow or rain anymore," said West Springfield High School junior Richard Darkwa. With more snow possibly in the forecast, athletes like Haley said staying indoors for softball is a challenge.

"It's kinda hard adjusting because we can't do like live pitching we can't do a real infield and get the real feel of like the ball in the dirt and all that stuff," she said. Doulette said it's all part of being an athlete in New England.

Western Mass News checked in with several other local school districts. Some said they use hallways and even nearby church gyms to get practices in.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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