The Snow-torious BIG (my personal favorite of storm nicknames heard on the news last week) did a solid job of shutting down the DC Metro area. Classes were cancelled, public transportation was limited and I was able to make it through two seasons of HBO's The Wire on DVD that I had "borrowed" from my brother (Thanks Sean!) as I sat stranded in Falls Church, Va. Though as hard as it tried, the snow could not stop the Georgetown softball team from preparing, as they set to begin the program's fifth season of play this weekend at the Elon Phoenix Tournament in Elon, N.C.
Hitting at indoor batting cages this time of year is normal for softball and baseball teams in the mid-atlantic, though the inability to take ground balls and work on defense due to the two feet of snow residing on every outdoor field surface in the area, forced Head Coach Pat Conlan and Assistant Coach Erica Ayers to become more creative in getting the team's defense ready.
Enter Ayers, who was able to combine her love of racquetball and her desire to keep the team's infielders sharp. While at George Mason, Ayers put together a game similar to basketball's H-O-R-S-E, where players would field raquetballs barehanded with their glove hand and get a letter each time a ball was bobbled or dropped, with the idea to be the last person to spell out the word.
The game was introduced at
While the work was different from the dirt infield they will be playing on when the season begins on Saturday, the workouts received ringing endorsements...
Sr., 3B Demetria Cipriano says: The weather has definitely made it difficult to practice outside (which would be ideal for ground balls and fly balls), but working inside the racquetball court has been really fun and interesting. I didn't realize how much it would help with working on moving our feet, reaction time, and watching the ball into our hands. I think we have all definitely learned how to move our feet more smoothly when approaching a ball from different directions. Regardless of the time we've missed out on the dirt, we'll be ready for the games this weekend and it will show with our quickness and approach to the ball. Playing in the racquetball court has been fun in between drills as well - we've developed a love for handball.
Soph., 1B Cara Savarese says: It would have been nice to get on the field a few times before we open up the season, but the infield practices on the racquetball court were definitely helpful. We had to field the handball barehanded with our glove hand only, in doing so, our weaknesses were exposed more than they would normally be on dirt. We were forced us to stay low and track the ball all the way in while we were focusing on the right footwork. We were also able to get alot of reps in a short amount of time, which is always a plus.