Someone should arrest Punxsutawney Phil for his false forecast.
The famous, or infamous, Pennsylvania groundhog from Gobbler’s Knob, emerged from his hole on Feb. 2 and didn’t see his shadow, so he predicted six weeks to go until spring.
It should be an early spring, according to Phil.
Tell that to any spring sports coach in Logan County.
Area baseball, softball and tennis coaches have had to endure a cold start to the season with wintry weather in the 30s for many of the games so far.
Then came one last blast of Old Man Winter and cold weather from Canada on Monday, which dumped about an inch of wet snow across much of the county. Another inch was expected on Tuesday, forcing the likely cancellation of many games throughout the region. Snow showers fell hard in downtown Logan on Tuesday morning, covering rooftops, car windshields and treetops.
Tuesday night’s forecast called for a low of a February-like 26 degrees.
Things are likely to improve later this week, however, as temps are expected to be in the 40s on Wednesday and Thursday and in the 50s on Friday and Saturday heading into Easter Weekend. However, many fields will likely be wet from the melting snow, so many games will still be in question because of field playability.
It’s been a tough start to the spring and for the area spring sports athletes.
Thankfully, many area teams have indoor facilities.
The tennis teams have the three indoor courts at the Chief Logan State Park Rec Center. Logan High School tennis coach Justin Turner has already played one of his meets inside when LHS faced Lincoln County last week.
The Logan and Chapmanville baseball/softball teams have their indoor buildings and batting cages at Ted Ellis Field and Roger Gertz Field. Logan’s softball team has their own indoor building behind their dugout.
At Man High School, the softball team has an almost-new indoor batting cage building next to the tennis courts. The baseball squad also has an indoor building down the left field line.
The Logan baseball team lucked out on Saturday afternoon with its home opener against St. Albans as the sun came out and temps were in the low 50s — very nice conditions all in all to what was to come on Monday and Tuesday. The Wildcats beat the Red Dragons 4-0.
The Wildcats are glad to be heading south over the weekend to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to take part in the annual weeklong Mingo Bay Classic tournament beginning April 2 and hope to play ball in springlike conditions for a change.
“Hopefully, the weather will be good so we won’t have to sit in the condo for a week,” Logan coach Roger Gertz said.
Gertz may not have to worry as temps are expected to be pleasant in the mid to upper 60s next week in Myrtle Beach although there is a chance of rain next Thursday.
Gertz said he’s thankful he has an indoor building where his players can at least take a few cuts in the cages and his pitchers can at least get in a few tosses.
“It’s nice to have,” Gertz said of Logan’s baseball building. “I remember when I first started we used the football locker rooms and hung up a long net so we could hit it off the tee. We are lucky that we have the facilities that we have. A lot of people over the years have helped developed it. The kids are lucky to what they’ve got there.”
As of Tuesday morning, the Logan at Chapmanville softball game was already cancelled, Lady Tigers’ coach Ronnie Ooten said. The Lady Tigers are scheduled to host Class AA defending state champion Wayne on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.
The Logan baseball team is scheduled to host Ripley on Wednesday night, but that game could be in doubt as well.
The Chapmanville baseball team’s Cardinal Conference doubleheader with Tolsia on Tuesday night at home was also snowed out.
Both the Man High School baseball and softball teams were slated to play on the road on Tuesday but both games were called off.
Punxsutawney Phil was back in the news last week when Michael Gmoser, the prosecuting attorney of Butler County, Ohio, issued a tongue-in-cheek indictment against him. He charged the groundhog with “misrepresentation of early spring,” and sought the death penalty for the fibbing Phil.
Phil, however, seems to have some powerful attorneys working on his behalf.
The Nurick Law Group filed a cease-and-desist notice against Grosner. Execution of Phil would be cruel and unusual, since the punishment far exceeds the severity of the crime, the law group stated.
Phil is also believed to be less than 18 years of age, and so it would be unconstitutional to institute the death penalty. The law group cited Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) as a precedent of this but no one was for sure if it would apply to rodents.