By Ken MacLeod


NATICK (CBS) – Something unusual happened in Natick Monday evening. The Little Leaguers actually got to play.

“We’ve basically had no games yet,” says parent Diane Howard. “Everything’s been rained out. I don’t even think we’ve had a practice yet.”

In many towns, puddles in parking lots reflect the tough spring for outdoor youth sports — especially baseball.

“When first base is under water,” says grandparent Charlie Napier, “it’s pretty hard splashing into it.”

Indeed, many of Natick’s makeup games for rainouts — have been rained out.

Natick Little League game (WBZ-TV)

“I’ve been coaching Little League for more than 10 years,” says coach Justin Steinman, “and I’ve never seen weather like this.”

So when the youngsters hit the field Monday night, they did so with very little practice under their belts — but tons of energy.

“Yeah they’ve been going a little stir crazy around the house,” says parent Reuben Ackerman. “So by game time they’ll be really amped up.”

Weather experts confirm what many of us have suspected these last several weeks.

April has featured 20 days with measurable rainfall — 20 days. And that’s a record.

Such things are good for May flowers and lush lawns — but not for baseball.

“It’s been wet,” says Coach Steinman with a classic understatement. “I’m so happy to see the sun today it’s unbelievable.”

The rainouts have triggered somewhat of a scheduling nightmare for league officials and parents, as they try to get youngsters to makeup doubleheaders on very short notice.

“It’s complete chaos,” says Diane Howard. “But it’s a good time and we love it.”

Matt Lodi is the league president — in his first year.

He says the town frowns on any effort to play on soggy fields because it tears them up.

But he hopes to squeeze in 17 games before the end of school.

“If we have to condense we’ll condense,” says Lodi. “The coaches and parents all understand. Mother Nature is Mother Nature.”

Thing is, the next several days look wet.

“I’m pretty sure my game tomorrow will be rained out,” says 12 year old Carsen Cray. “And I’m afraid my Friday game might.”

“But it’ll clear up,” says Charlie Napier. “This is New England and the weather gets better sooner or later.”

Maybe.

Ken MacLeod

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