‘An absolute disaster’

Some teams in the area have had the benefit of turf fields to offset this spring’s inclement weather.

Others have benefited from fast-drying fields and alternate locations.

Then there is the Cassadaga Valley Lady Cougars softball team.

With less than a week left in the season, the Lady Cougars have practiced outdoors for a total of 45 minutes and have hosted only one home game.

“Every girl on the team hates me,” joked Cassadaga Valley coach Ken Balling. “I graduated 11 seniors and inherited a bunch of girls from the jayvee team. With a lack of being outside, I’ve been moving people all over and changing the batting order every game. Girls are in positions they don’t belong, and in turn, they don’t succeed. It’s been an absolute disaster.”

Balling is in his 14th season at the helm of Cassadaga Valley’s softball program and has never had a season such as this one.

The Lady Cougars are 3-5 in league play this season and sit at 3-8 overall, which is uncharacteristic for a program that has enjoyed prolonged success during Balling’s tenure.

Balling has seen his team repeatedly beat itself this season due to errors that could be easily addressed during practice.

“We have yet to have a team beat us; we have beat ourselves every game this season,” Balling said. “It is all stuff you can work on in practice. There have been so many unearned runs. The core is there and the offense is there, but defensively we have been awful.”

So far this week, it has been more of the same.

With games already backed up, teams have been forced to play nearly every day, which leaves no time for practice.

To make matters worse, the weather continues to be an issue and the games are having to be postponed.

Now, with less than a week left to play before the playoff seeding meeting, teams are scrambling just to get in whatever games they can.

Cassadaga Valley was scheduled to play Monday, Wednesday and have a doubleheader Thursday. The games on Monday and Wednesday were rained out after less than two innings and the doubleheader Thursday got postponed three innings into Game 1.

Once again, the Lady Cougars have had their schedule shuffled.

Cassadaga Valley will face Chautauqua Lake today, finish its rain-delayed contest with Clymer on Monday and play the remainder of the doubleheader with Sherman on Tuesday.

If all goes well, the doubleheader will finish minutes before the seeding meeting is scheduled to begin.

This has been a season like no other for spring sports in the western New York area. The regular season for softball will come to a close Tuesday, and for many teams, it seems like it hasn’t even truly begun.