Softball teams adjust after 1st-round playoff games get postponed

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | 5:04 PM

A familiar nemesis popped up as Springdale prepared to play its first WPIAL softball playoff game in nearly two decades: Mother Nature.

The persistent rain that began over Mother’s Day weekend caused Springdale’s scheduled Class A first-round game against Quigley Catholic to get postponed, leaving the Dynamos to cool their heels with a practice in their school gymnasium and wait until Thursday for their first postseason appearance since 2000.

“I think it creates more anticipation,” said coach Anthony Pototo, whose team is scheduled to play Quigley Catholic at 3 p.m. Thursday at Shaler. “We have long winters here in Western Pennsylvania, and eventually we see that one 50-degree day and we’re out there in shorts getting ready for the warm weather. I think it’s the same thing (here).”

Springdale, Deer Lakes and Freeport had their first-round games postponed Tuesday afternoon, with Thursday set as the rescheduled date. Deer Lakes will play Southmoreland in the Class 3A first round at Shaler after the conclusion of Springdale’s game. Freeport will face Ellwood City in the Class 3A first round at 4 p.m. at North Allegheny.

“The girls were pretty excited to play (Tuesday). They were disappointed when we got the call,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “But they understood. We talked about it, and it’s nothing new for us. We’ve had games canceled. We’ve had games postponed. We’ve had games suspended.

“It’s just part of it at this time of the year. It’s some type of adversity that we don’t have control over, and we just have to roll with it.”

If any team is equipped to deal with conditions like Tuesday, it is Springdale, which went nearly three weeks between games last month because of several postponements. Pototo said the Dynamos approached this situation the same way.

“I think it works to our advantage,” he said. “When we had that big layover … it kind of woke us up that we have to be ready to play. Whether it was (Tuesday), whether it’s Thursday, we know that whenever we do get our opportunity to go out there and play our first playoff game in 19 years, we’re ready to go no matter who our opponent is and take care of business.”

The inclement weather made the teams’ own fields unsuitable for practice Monday and Tuesday, so they made other arrangements, whether it was practicing on turf fields, inside their gyms or using their hitting cages.

Freeport coach Sam Ross said he delivered a simple message to his team Monday night about being ready to play, only to see the game washed out the next day.

“(We’ll) do it all over again,” Ross said. “We’re OK with it, though. With the way that softball season itself is, with the day-in, day-out, play-on, play-off or whatever, (we’re used to it). Playoffs are a bit different, but a couple extra days of practice is always OK. We’ll have them ready to go.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .

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