While softball should have been playing against Palomar College Thursday, they instead were scrimmaging against each other on the soccer field.
The defending conference champs were practicing after having their sixth game in eight days postponed due to weather.
Despite the visually sunny conditions, the softball field was still slick from the recent storms, prompting the head coach Marissa Ross to call the game for player safety.
“After we checked the field today there were still some spots that were pretty muddy and slippery,” Ross said. “So, just wanna keep the kids safe.”
Not content to head home for the day, the Dons took to the artificial turf of the soccer field to keep up their training. A box of doughnuts awaited them as a reward for the unconventional circumstances.
“It’s cool being out here on the turf because seeing the ball is a lot different on the turf…it’s fun,” said Alyssa Armijo, a Freshman infielder for the Dons.
The Dons last played a game Wednesday, Feb. 22, against Riverside Community College where they dominated in a 19-0 victory that ended in the fifth inning due to a mercy ruling. The team hoped to carry the momentum of that win into the next week of games, but Mother Nature had other plans.
Continuous rain and hail drenched the field Wednesday while winds tore at the tarp put down by the ground crew to preserve the field, thwarting their efforts and ensuring that the infield dirt would be thoroughly soaked well into the next day, according to Athletic Field Groundskeeper Jessie Garcia.
“It’s tough coming off of a high at RCC and then not playing for a while and just practicing and getting all the reps in and still not be able to play. But, we’ll get back out there,” said Freshman pitcher Katie Neal.
What should have been light-colored dust bordering the field was instead slick mud that posed a threat to player safety. The area in front of the home-side dugout, bathed in shadow that prevented any ray of sunlight from drying out the ground, was particularly damp and hazardous.
The threat to player safety that the mud presented ultimately led Ross to call the game.
While both players and coaches were disappointed with not playing, they also appreciated the time it gave them to slow down and recuperate.
“I think that it’s nice that we were able to give them a few days off and let their bodies rest… now they’re just ready to go,” said Coach Ross, “When you have games back to back to back sometimes it’s hard to keep focus and that adrenaline going.”
In addition, student athletes must be enrolled in 12 units per semester minimum to maintain eligibility. Some players take advantage of the time off to catch up on their studies.
“It’s also a good way to help us pick up some of our classwork because we were playing like four games a week and it’s just really hard to keep up,” said Sophomore outfielder Jayleena Perez.
The Dons, coming off a playoff run and conference championship, look to elevate their record to 7-8. Their next contest is March 6 at Golden West College.