March 6, 2012

Weather delays season opener

The start of the Maroons’ season was forced to take a rain check this weekend. The season opener, which was set for a doubleheader against Robert Morris–Springfield on Saturday, was canceled because of inclement weather. Chicago’s season will now kick off over spring break in Florida. The game against Robert Morris will not be made up.

“There was some pretty bad weather in central and southern Illinois on Friday and Saturday, and there was no way we would have been able to play,” third-year infielder Steven Schwabe said.

The Maroons had been eagerly looking forward to their opening day, but now, they will wait until the end of the quarter.

“We were disappointed when we found out that we wouldn’t be able to play on Saturday,” Schwabe said. “It would have been really nice to get a game in before heading down south for spring break.”

Down south refers to the team’s annual Florida training trip, which will take place from March 18 to March 26. Over the course of the trip, the Maroons will play 12 games in seven days. Chicago does not yet know which players will be on the travel roster, though the names will be released later in the week.

“We hope to grow closer as a team [in Florida], and most importantly, win,” Schwabe said.

The specific teams that will be competing in Florida are certainly a consideration, as well.

“We play a lot of in-region opponents and [we] need to do very well in those games as it will help our chances to make the postseason,” second-year outfielder Ricky Troncelliti said.

While playing against significant opponents in Florida seems like a great way to return home primed for the rest of the season, the multitude of doubleheaders and the Florida heat complicate this road map.

“I think a lot of players make sure they get enough sleep [during the trip],” second-year outfielder and first baseman Brett Huff said. “Another important thing is to make sure we stretch out our arms enough due to the high level of throwing we’ll be doing with two games almost everyday.”

After a successful 2011, in which the Maroons finished 18–12–1, players are expressing optimism looking forward to the training trip and to a new year.

“We have a very strong squad with a great mix of old and young talent,” Troncelliti said.

A loaded depth chart will be one of the Maroons’ weapons this season. “We’re lucky enough to have such a deep team this year,” Huff said. “We are two, sometimes three, players deep at almost every position. That being said, I think our whole team, in general, is poised to have a great season.”

In Florida, the Maroons will be facing off against St. Olaf, Bowdoin, Grinnell, Fontbonne, St. Thomas, and UW-Whitewater. Their first game after the Florida training trip will be at home on Tuesday, March 27 at 3 p.m. against Wheaton.