Northwest softball once again finds itself in the middle of scheduling altercations in an attempt to play games.
The Bearcats (3-9, 0-4 MIAA) have restructured their schedule for the Missouri Western Tournament March 21-24 because of the threat of flooding.
With floods moving south from Nebraska and flood warnings being issued across northwest Missouri and along the Missouri River, Nebraska native and junior infielder Kaitlyn Weis said the team is keeping its collective eye on the threat of high water levels canceling games.
“I’m very worried about it,” Weis said. “We’ve been watching it a lot, especially on Twitter, and even in our group chat people are talking about it.”
The weather has been somewhat of a hot topic among the players this year. From a brutal winter to extreme flooding, the Bearcats can’t seem to catch a break.
“It’s something you can’t control,” coach Ryan Anderson said. “We can hit all we want, take defense and do all that kind of stuff, but it doesn’t matter. We’re not getting a shot.”
Northwest will take the field — weather permitting — in St. Joseph against unusual competition. The Bearcats will face Northern State, Winona State, Augustana and Minot State.
Anderson explained having this middle of the season tournament during the conference slate provides a nice break from common rivals.
“It’s always good opponents,” Anderson said. “Tournaments are always fun because they are a one and done. You don't have a back-to-back doubleheader. You can use, not necessarily a different lineup, but a different strategy with pitchers and those type of things.”
Northwest is looking to get back on the field for the first time since its lack-luster weekend road trip to Oklahoma, March 8-9, where they dropped all four games they played. For Weis and company, they’re looking to rebound from that rough stretch with fresh faces to play against.
“I think this will be a good time because it’s not conference,” Weis said. “Conference has seen us, and they know how we play, and these teams don’t necessarily see us all the time, so I think it will be nice for us to see some (nonconference opponents).”
This tournament provides an oddity that most don’t. Usually, in tournament play, a team will play two games in one day. For this one, Northwest will play one game for four straight days. While it is strange, Anderson says his team can’t look at it that way.
“We just have to just think of it as we’re going to get games in,” Anderson said. “Nobody wants to go play a single game four days in a row. Right now, we’re playing, and we haven't done that in the past month in a half.”
The Bearcats are nearing a home weekend series against Lincoln and Lindenwood over spring break, March 29-30. With the melting of snow and continuing the precipitation, Anderson said getting those valuable doubleheaders against conference competition, “doesn’t look good.”
“It’s still wet,” Anderson said. “Even yesterday … it was still wet here. I drug it a few times yesterday, and it’s drying out nicely. We still have frost in the ground. Hopefully, this rain helps pull more (frost) up, but we have to have some drying before next weekend.”
After this weekend’s games, the Bearcats have nine remaining doubleheaders before heading to the conference tournament May 2 in Oklahoma City.
“The season is gone, yet we haven’t started the season,” Anderson said.