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Mother Nature wreaks havoc on Iowa baseball team

BY TOMMY REINKING | APRIL 24, 2013 5:00 AM

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At nearly 3 p.m. Tuesday on another cold, rainy day in the eerily quiet indoor football facility, the only sound was a constant, soft ping from the bat of the Hawkeyes’ first baseman, Trevor Kenyon, as he hit ground balls to teammate Nick Roscetti.

The team was supposed to be readying for a game against Creighton, but Mother Nature again forced the Hawkeyes to spend their time indoors.

“We’ve been here at the facility since 12,” sophomore outfielder Eric Toole said. “Then we got informed [that because of the canceled game] we were going to practice at 3. So we’ve been here the whole day. We had some free time but didn’t even know it until we got here.”

A sporadic schedule has been the norm for Iowa this season. The Hawkeyes’ first regular-season game took place on Feb. 15. In the nearly two and a half months since then, the team has been able to practice outside on Banks Field only twice.

The team was supposed to face Creighton Tuesday in a game that was originally scheduled for March 27, but it was again postponed because of rain. With that game being canceled, it brings the total number of games or series that have been canceled, moved to a new location, or shut out this season to 10.

“It makes us upset, that’s for sure,” sophomore catcher/infielder Anthony Torres said. “We want to go out there and play. It does kind of throw off our routine a little bit, but it’s not that bad. We just keep pushing along.”

Head coach Jack Dahm said that it’s because of these cancellations that the team has been struggling to find momentum. With the team seemingly moving around to somewhere else every other day because of the weather, the players have been finding it more difficult to get into a routine than if the weather were warmer. He noted that if the day’s matchup were with a Big Ten opponent, the game would still be on.

“It’s just hard to get better,” he said. “You don’t want to make excuses, but it’s just been difficult to get into any type of groove. You can get a little bit of stuff accomplished coming inside, but when you’ve been outside for so long, it’s kind of tough to come in here and get much accomplished.”

The one constant for the team this season and the one thing the club has been thankful for came from an unexpected place: the Iowa football team.

The new indoor practice facility has been almost more of a home to the team than Banks Field. Dahm said that in years past, they didn’t have any batting cages to practice indoors and the football team was often using the Bubble.

“We’re lucky to have this facility,” he said. “It’s really nice to be able to come in here and get some work in. At least we can come in here and get some swings in when the weather’s not too great.”

If Mother Nature decides to give the team a break, the squad will face Northern Illinois today at Banks Field. If not, then the team will probably be practicing yet again on the artificial football field that’s become its home away from home.

“It’s been tough,” Dahm said. “But our guys have remained positive even though it’s been a very difficult situation because of the weather.”


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