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Trip to warmer environs hits snag

Caption
(Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland (36) and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4), of Sweden, put pressure on Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, of Slovenia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 25, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

For several years, Cary-Grove has used spring break to take a trip to southern Illinois, seeking a little warmer temperatures.

The Trojans play games at Rent One Park in Marion, a synthetic turf field that is home of the Frontier League’s Southern Illinois Miners. Rain sometimes is a problem, although what the Trojans encountered Monday afternoon was a new experience.

C-G traveled through the part of the state hit hardest by the spring snowstorm, which prolonged the trip well past the allotted time, although coach Don Sutherland already received a text that their games were postponed.

Snow still covered most of the field when the Trojans arrived, so they went right to work. With players wearing shorts and hoodies, they worked, along with players from Lockport and St. Charles North, to clear the rest of the field.

“The infield and left field were clear, so we cleared off center field, right field and around the foul areas,” Sutherland said. “The field is playable now.”

C-G’s games with Eldorado and Murphysboro were moved to later in the week. The Trojans are scheduled to play St. Charles North at 10 a.m. today, then play two games each Wednesday and Thursday before coming home. The bad weather also wiped out a trip to Southern Illinois University to see former Trojans catcher Luke Mottashed with the Salukis, whose games were postponed.

“We went out and shoveled,” said outfielder Patrick Snell, who also tweeted a picture of the Trojans at work. “We used shovels, folding chairs, garbage cans, whatever we could get. I don’t think they’re that used to snow down there, they’re almost in Kentucky.”

Sutherland said some of the St. Charles North parents had squeegees and shovels. The folding chairs were in the dugouts and utilized just so some other players had something to do.

It will all be worth it today when C-G finally gets on the field.

“We’ve been outside about 15 minutes,” Snell said. “We were out Saturday and took a few fly balls.”

Naturally, with teenagers in a sport where throwing is essential, the inevitable snowball fights broke out. Sutherland had only one problem with that.

“They were throwing at each other,” Sutherland said, “I told them to throw them outside the stadium. The snow was still on the field.”

• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at joestevenson@shawmedia.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.

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