Mavs ditch shovels for softballs
Snow removal a great workout for softball team
Talk about conditioning drills.
Two days of snow removal certainly got the Mesa State College softball team ready to do anything except shovel more snow.
Tuesday, the Mavs got to do just that — just not on Bergman Field.
“I think our backs are feeling it a little bit today,” senior catcher Meagan Hennessy said before practice began. “We were saying, ‘Coach, I think we got our workout in.’ I’m a little sore, but not as bad as I thought I would be. Maybe the worst is coming (today).
“Last year we were on the soccer field and it was zero degrees. The sun’s out now, so it’s a lot better. I can’t complain.”
Years of practice on snow removal had the routine down to a science, with Kris Mort going into the process with a plan to move the snow from the third-base side to the first-base side.
After about three hours of work Sunday, both bullpens were cleared and about a quarter of the infield — and the football practice field, where the Mavs will work out until the field is playable.
They were back at it Monday, finishing the infield and then tromped through the outfield, breaking up the snow so it would melt faster.
Thanks to the artificial turf on the football practice field and in the batting cages at Bergman, the Mavericks can get the majority of their workouts done without getting on Bergman Field, but Mort is hoping a few more days of sunshine will allow the remainder of the snow in the outfield to melt and the infield to dry out.
“It’s drying out pretty good,” she said. “I don’t really know this field yet, but I think it’ll be OK.”
Mort met with the players before practice, going over their daily field maintenance duties and some other first-day instructions, then pulled out the RMAC preseason rankings, which were released Tuesday.
The Mavericks, 23-17 in the RMAC last season, are picked to win the West Division and finish third overall. Mesa State received one first-place vote in the polling of the conference coaches.
Colorado School of Mines received 10 of the 12 first-place votes and is an overwhelming choice to win the East and the overall title. Metro State is picked to finish second in the East and the overall race.
Trailing Mesa State in the West is Adams State, which received one first-place vote, CSU-Pueblo, Western New Mexico, Fort Lewis and New Mexico Highlands. Regis is picked third in the East, followed by Nebraska-Kearney, CU-Colorado Springs and Chadron State.
Shannon Galanek, a senior second baseman at Adams State, is the preseason player of the year and Casey Williams, a senior at Chadron State, is the preseason pitcher of the year.
Galanek hit .444 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI last season for the Grizzlies, and Williams went 14-12 with a 4.39 ERA for the Eagles.
“The one message is, the other schools expect Mesa State to be in the hunt year in and year out,” Mort said. “Again, it goes back to not taking that for granted, you have to work every day to be in there, no matter what the preseason stuff says.”
When she told the players that none of them was mentioned on the preseason all-conference team, it raised a few eyebrows. For emphasis, she showed them what she thought of that, tearing the RMAC press release in two, as the players laughed and nodded their heads.
“I almost think that’s better,” Hennessy said. “Nobody’s out to get us. Whatever. They’ll think, ‘they’re going to be good, but who do they have?’ No promises, but I’m really excited.”
So’s Mort, but she’s almost wary about what lies ahead.
“I don’t want to jinx us and say this is a special group and then look back and we’ve split every other weekend, but the conference has gotten tougher,” she said.
“More teams are established, coaches have been there longer, but this group does have that little different twinkle in their eyes. I’d rather look back in May and say this team had all the makings and I could see it in February.”