Spring sports teams return from break

REED CITY — Area high school spring sports teams began practices on March 13.

But as happens every year, the teams took a break for spring vacation, which was last week.

Or did they?

Various area teams worked on having practices for whomever was available during this year’s spring break, which started on March 24, and extended through this week.

Break was a week earlier this year. In past seasons, many local schools had three weeks of spring sports practice and then the week-long break.

This year, it’s a two-week practice stretch, then the break.

Athletes get back in April, a week earlier than usual from spring break.

“The bad thing is we don’t get much of an opportunity to get going before break again,” Reed City track coach Brent Michell said. “But now we come back and are starting over again. It’s not all bad.”

Some teams, although a small number, have already had a chance for limited game action. Grand Valley, Central Michigan and Saginaw Valley State hosted indoor track meets attended by some local teams. Most teams usually don’t open their seasons until after spring break.

Reed City baseball coach Marty Shaffer worked with his team on Tuesday and Thursday last week.

The weather allowed the Coyotes to be outside on Tuesday. They were back in the gym on Thursday.

“We’re doing a couple of days of hitting and drilling with whom we have left,” he said. “A lot of guys have left town. We have about eight or nine. It’s been pretty good for the guys who are around town. It’s nice to have them do something and keep busy.

“We come back Monday for practice and the first game is Thursday at home against Morley.”

Spring break for coaches has a slight negative impact similar to what the holidays have for winter sports.

“You get two weeks going, and then you get a week off,” Shaffer said.

Evart baseball coach Josh Johnson said he had his first day of spring break practice last week on Tuesday and was going to have an intrasquad scrimmage on Wednesday.

“I probably had 13 or 14 (on Tuesday),” Johnson said. “I’m thinking I’ll have more (on Wednesday).”

His practices were a combination of JV and varsity players.

“Most of the kids that live nearby were here,” Johnson said after Wednesday’s practice.

Evart’s baseball season opens on Tuesday, making Johnson even more determined to have quality practices.

“We do Sunday night swings (batting practice),” Johnson said. “The kids come in at 6 p.m. and take some cuts.”

Reed City’s softball team practiced throughout the week. Although he had fewer players than at a regular practice, Coyote coach Roger Steig pointed out spring break practice allowed him to work with players on a more individual basis.

In the past, the Reed City softball team went to Florida during spring break to practice in the warmer climate. It’s something many Michigan baseball and softball teams still do.

“We used to go to Florida every other year,” Steig said. “We’d go as a team and would rent a house where we would all stay together.”

Under Michigan High School Athletic Association rules, the Coyotes and other teams can still take such trips.

“We could still do that if we wanted to,” Steig said. “You can’t scrimmage anyone, just practice. We went to a university and practiced there. It’s mainly how much of a commitment you can get. You want to take the whole team.

“Every year we went down, Portland was there and I think they still go.”

A heavy amount of organization goes into such a trip, Steig pointed out.

Poor weather greeted team this week. Some teams have scheduled events but expected snow later this week could have an impact on it.