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Baseball and Softball Schedules Shortened by Repeated Rain Delays

King of the Hill
Senior Garrett Rupp delivers a pitch during last season's rain-shortened Beanpot.

Rain across the Northeast on Tuesday afternoon forced the Harvard baseball and softball teams to postpone their midweek tilts against Boston College and Boston University, respectively, continuing a trend of several game cancellations and postponements for both squads.

The postponement marks the fourth game this season the Crimson baseball team has had taken off its original timetable due to inclement weather. A three-game set at Princeton from March 24th-25th, originally the team’s Ivy League opener, was also postponed, and it was announced just yesterday that the series will be made up on April 17th-18th. Tuesday’s matchup with the Eagles, the semifinals of the annual Beanpot Tournament, is now set for tomorrow.

The softball team, meanwhile, sees its sixth game of the season either postponed or canceled. A March 10th tilt with Florida Gulf Coast University was canceled and last Thursday’s matchup with Holy Cross was postponed due to inclement weather and field conditions. No rescheduling date has been set. A three-game set at Cornell in March was also pushed back a day, with Harvard dropping the series, 1-2.

In terms of on-field mechanics, the delays look to impact the gameplay minimally.

“It’s normal when it’s raining…we know we’ll have to play the [teams] for league games; it’s just a matter of when,” said softball sophomore utility player Chanel Varney. “It doesn’t really change how we feel about the competition, it just changes when we practice. It’s not a big issue.”

If anything, the delays gave the softball squad extra time to practice, albeit in a different space. To get out of the rain, the team has been practicing in the indoor track alongside the track team, using the facility’s batting cage that lowers from the ceiling.

“When we found out that we wouldn’t have a series against Cornell over [last] weekend and it would have to get pushed on to midweek games, we just saw it as, ‘Okay, we have extra time to prepare for this and we’re going to be as adaptable as possible, because we know we are going to face them,’” Varney said.

In the Northeast, the fact that ill-fated weather interferes with college sports scheduling is nothing new. The coaches expect adaptation and an ability to continue day-to-day operations out of their players.

What is new, however, is the University’s construction of a 6,500 sq. foot hitting pavilion near the Harvard Stadium in Allston. Originally scheduled to be completed in mid-March, the ongoing construction has complicated matters.

“Track has actually been really accommodating since we do have to practice at the same time,” Varney said. “It’s all in consideration of the fact that we have our nice big hitting facility under construction. So once that’s finished, it’ll no longer going to be a conflict of space usage.”

When completed, the new facility will provide more stability in scheduling practice in the New England winter. The fact that the inclement weather is a typical characteristic of the Northeast is visible across the region. Several Ivy baseball teams, including Penn, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth, in addition to Harvard, have had at least a couple games either postponed or canceled this season.

“Our team is really adaptable,” Varney said. “[Head Coach Jenny Allard] expects that of us. She doesn’t want the weather to ever be a factor—it should be a non-issue. We live in the northeast, we do a good job of that.”

The Crimson baseball squad is 9-13, 1-2 (Ivy League), and takes on a 9-16, 4-8 (ACC) Boston College team tomorrow at Brighton Baseball Field. The game comes as a rematch of last year’s Beanpot Finals in which the Eagles took down Harvard, 3-2, at Fenway Park, in a rain-shortened affair that was called final after the fifth inning.

“We’re excited, we’re confident,” said junior center fielder Ben Skinner. “We have one of the best squads we’ve had in years.”

The Crimson softball squad is 13-11 and currently sits atop the Ivy League standings at 6-3. The bout with Boston University, yet unscheduled, is a standalone non-conference game.

—Staff writer Bryan Hu can be reached at bryan.hu@thecrimson.com.

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