Trickiest part of baseball season takes place in first weeks

By: Mike Moore | Farmington Press | Published March 22, 2011

 Farmington’s Alex Schmitt locks in on the ball during a soft toss drill on March 17. This is the time of year when coaches must juggle when to work outside or indoors.

Farmington’s Alex Schmitt locks in on the ball during a soft toss drill on March 17. This is the time of year when coaches must juggle when to work outside or indoors.

Photo by David Schreiber

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FARMINGTON — There’s a fine line baseball coaches must walk at this time of year, one that they have very little control over and is often determined by the previous night’s 11 p.m. newscast.

“If we get outside a couple times in the first couple weeks, I’ll be more than happy,” first-year North Farmington coach Mike O’Connell said last week. “It’s a blessing you can only hope for. You certainly can’t plan for it.”

And so goes the annual battle with the elements skippers around the state must tackle while picking teams and then putting pieces into their correct place.

“When you’re inside, you try to get what you can out of it,” Farmington High coach Pete Finn said. “You look for arm speed, foot speed, bat speed and so on. You try to figure out some of the talent you’re working with, but it’s not the same at all. It’s a lot different fielding ground balls off a gym floor compared to a dirt infield.”

All three local coaches were counting their blessing’s during the first week of tryouts and practices. O’Connell, Finn and Harrison coach Pete Lamerato had their respective teams outdoors twice during the first five days of the season.

“Right now is the time of year you just have to get through,” O’Connell added with a laugh. “It’s almost like classroom time.”

The first day games are allowed this season is March 23.

Harrison opens the season at 11 a.m. March 26 at Livonia Churchill.

North Farmington kicks things off at 4 p.m. March 30 at home against West Bloomfield High, while Farmington travels to Bloomfield Hills Andover at 4:30 p.m. March 30.

All games are, of course, weather permitting.

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