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Frozen: L-L spring athletes push through frigid first week

Technically, it’s the spring sports season. In all realness though, winter wasn’t ready to give up its throne this week. With temperatures in the mid-30s and a wind chill that made it feel more of less like  Siberia rather than Lancaster, it sure didn’t feel like the end of March.

Nevertheless, baseball, softball and lacrosse teams fought frozen faces, fingers and feet in the first full week of spring sports. Leading up to games, cold temperatures stunted teams’ ability to practice and prepare for the season in ways that they’re used to.

“Before the season even started, we were only able to practice on the field one time and we only had one scrimmage,” Hempfield softball catcher Amber Morris said. “The gym definitely gave us a false sense of how the game actually works when it's windy, rainy, cold, etc.

Hempfield played a cold and sloppy game against Donegal on Thursday in which the Knights trailed by six runs in the third inning, led by three runs in the sixth and ultimately lost by four.

“It definitely affected the pitchers as we had 10 walks, which we rarely have between three games,” Morris said. “That being said, the cold definitely affected them (pitchers) the most. We could barely throw at practice today because our arms were so stiff.”

Morris didn’t let the cold affect her at the plate though; going 3-for-4 with a double and RBI.

But Hempfield also threw two wild pitches in the final inning that led to Donegal runs.

Indians pitcher Sophie Leaman concurred with Morris that the cold weather had a real effect on her preparation and pitching.

“It was difficult to find days to actually practice game-like situations on a real field so that definitely was a downside of the weather,” Leaman said. “It was frustrating having cold hands and finding ways to warm them up to get a good enough grip on the ball.”

For others, the wind had more of an effect than the cold. Earlier in the week, Lampeter-Strasburg outfielder/pitcher Sam Meck hit a walkoff single to push the Pioneers past Warwick, 3-2 in extra innings. Meck say the windy conditions affected him more in the outfield than on the pitcher’s mound.

“It affected fly balls when I was in the outfield,” Meck said. “The wind really moved the ball around up there and made it drift a lot.”

Meck came into pitch the final 2 and two-third innings and struck out two while allowing just one hit.

“The cold weather didn't affect me all that much when I was pitching,” Meck said. “But it made hitting difficult because your hands were so cold.”

After the game, Meck explained that his walkoff hit didn’t feel the same as his first three at-bats.

"The last one didn't sting,” he said.

While rain and wind could still be in the future, warmer temperatures are allegedly on the way; much to the delight of L-L spring athletes.

“We all just keep in mind that it's cold for every team and not just us,” Leaman said. “We have to make the best of every moment we can get on the field.”

“We are all really anticipating warmer weather soon so we can experience some good, quality softball,” Morris said.