By Rusty Whitcher
To say the least, the weather in Kansas is unpredictable.
When it comes to baseball, the players and coaches are both at the mercy of Mother Nature. In the spring, when the weather can turn nasty at the drop of a hat, sometimes all a team can do is wait it out.
Originally, the Hesston College baseball team was slated to play Hutchinson Community College during the first week of March, but the weather had other ideas after a late season snowstorm blanketed the playing fields. Finally, the Larks and Blue Dragons were able to make things work for a single game on April 8. Soon, the game changed to a doubleheader with the Larks on the road to Hobart Dettar Field in Carey Park.
Once again, the weather played a hand in the game time. Early in the morning of the game, the Larks were slated to leave at 1 p.m. for the 4 p.m. start time. But the threat of severe weather resulted in the game time moving up an hour along with the departure time. After consulting the various weather outlets, the game was moved back to the original start time of 4 p.m. as the storms were forecast to stay away until later in the evening if they formed at all.
“Welcome to baseball coaching in Kansas,” Head Coach Rob Ramseyer said. “Or anywhere for that matter. It’s the most stressful part of my job.”
Much like a roving band of nomads, the Larks began to trickle into the parking lot behind Yost Center one by one. Three white vans were awaiting the team, with each player having a specific van where they were assigned. Guys were in various stages of dress, some wearing shorts, others with their gray road pants on already, long sleeves, short sleeves, even a few had their gold jerseys on before leaving, proud to be a member of the Lark baseball family.
With the trailer for equipment completely loaded, the caravan pulled away from the parking lot, under a thick gray blanket of clouds, the sky belying the forecast for warmer temperatures and the potential for weather later on.
Light bantering filled the van while some players immersed themselves in music. The topic of discussion was wide-ranging, from girlfriends to golf, from homework to summer ball even to the glory of naps as a college student.
Hutchinson is a short drive compared with some of the Lark road trips, a 35-minute commute on Highway 50. After a quick exit from the highway, the road winds its way back to Hobart Dettar, a field tucked into Carey Park, nestled right up against the Arkansas River. As the Larks unpacked all of their gear from the trailer, the host Blue Dragons just happened to be finishing up batting practice.
Hesston players dressed quickly, knowing stretching followed by batting practice was on the horizon. With the game on the mind of the players a few minor details slipped through the cracks as the coaches for both squads chatted about each team’s season. When Ramseyer returned to the dugout, his watchful eye caught a detail which had been missed.
“Shaq, your belt looks stupid,” Ramseyer said to center fielder Shaquille Theus, a sophomore from Kansas City.
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