Play Ball: Winter Blues Lead to Indoor Practices

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CLEVELAND-- It says spring on the calendar, but you wouldn't know it by where high school sports teams are holding practice. A lot of athletes are feeling those winter blues.

It is spring break at Avon Lake High School, but you won't find the Shoremen baseball team practicing outside, at least not yet.

"We just want this long winter to end," said Avon Lake first baseman Kyle Kuhar.

Avon Lake, like many teams across Northeast Ohio have been forced to hold practice in a gym or on their high school football field, thanks to a winter season that won't quite go away.

"I love the snow. I love the outside but when it's baseball season I want the sun. I want to be outside playing on a diamond," said shortstop Matt Gottshall.

Wednesday morning, many baseball diamonds were covered with several inches of snow, which slowly melted as the day wore on, but that made field conditions unplayable and even more so not suitable for practice.

"In here, you're getting clean hops, everything is clean coming off the ground. We have a rubber floor here so everything is smooth. When you're out there, you're getting hard hops. You have to get in front of everything," Gottshall said.

It’s a similar story at St. Ed's where the Eagles won't step foot on a baseball diamond until they play their first game this weekend, down south.

"Being out on the field lacing up my shoes for the very first time, new cleats it will be, I'll be glad to be on the field for the first time," said Eagles centerfielder Kyle Hegedus.

The Eagles have spent most of their preseason in their auxiliary gym prepping as best as they can for the upcoming season.

"We went through this last year so coming into this year we just planned on being indoors again. If we ever get outside it's a bonus, but if not, we just work inside and make the most of it," said baseball coach Joe Kasl.

St. Ed's has practiced a few times on their football field but not enough for outfielders to work on an important part of their game, fielding a fly ball.

"Being stuck inside with a closed roof you want to see those ball and track down all those balls and get all the practice you want outside," said Hegedus.

It may be time to play ball, but the real question remains: When will it actually feel like baseball season?

"We just want this long winter to end," said Kuhar.