ELLIOTT: A bit of calm before next storm

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And now, we wait.

Whether it’s this week, next week or next month, area teams will eventually begin their spring sports schedules.

Until then, they’ll be taking the practices inside.

BELIEVE IT or not, the Lakeland High baseball team was scheduled to open the season at home against Lewiston on Saturday.

They were.

“The snow is very frustrating,” Lakeland coach Jason Bradbury said. “We still have about 8 to 10 inches on our field. It’s especially frustrating because four weeks ago, and before the season officially started, there was nothing on the field. In fact, we had two open gyms on the field, where the kids were taking ground and fly balls. We could have easily played a game then. Now, we aren’t even close. I don’t think that we will be on it for at least another two to three weeks.”

Saturday’s games have since been moved to Lewiston, with the doubleheader starting at noon.

“The crazy part about it is that when my team steps off the bus in Lewiston, it will be the first time they’ve seen grass and a field all year,” Bradbury said. “Not to mention, we’ll have to play one of the best teams in the state by doing so. I look forward to the opportunity though — just to get outside and see what my guys can do. I feel bad, especially for my outfielders, because they haven’t been able to see real fly balls at all. You can only go so high in the gymnasium, but now they’re expected to judge 300-foot fly balls. It puts us at a real disadvantage, but I know they’re up for the challenge and look forward to it. My coaches and I have been telling them all week that we aren’t expecting perfection out there. We are just looking for them to compete the best they can, work hard, stay positive, and have a good attitude about it. I think they’ll respond well.”

LAKELAND ALSO has a home baseball game scheduled against Bonners Ferry next Tuesday. The 4A Inland Empire League opener is scheduled for March 22 against Moscow, also in Rathdrum.

And that’s just baseball. Softball, golf, track and field and tennis are also stuck inside for the near future.

“So far, we’ve just been inside the gym practicing,” Bradbury said. “However, that’s an issue because we have to share with softball and track. We’ve been switching with softball and going early in the morning and late in our practice schedule to allow for more gym space. I know it’s frustrating for the boys too. You can only do so much on a gym floor and in a batting cage. We are making the best of it, though. We’re trying to be creative with our practice plans to make things more fun for them. We’re getting a lot of work done, though, and I like their mentality so far.”

Which is a good thing now.

Coaches teach patience at the plate.

Might as well practice that before getting on the field as well.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at (208) 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.

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