Who's Worried About a Little Rain?

Feb. 10, 2010

by Matt Winkeljohn, Managing Editor

ATLANTA — Tuesday was a rainy day, which meant for Sharon Perkins it was a long day.

The Georgia Tech softball coach and her staff were stuck out in left field from early morning to late afternoon.

Even on gray, cold, crummy days, the Yellow Jackets need to get their work in, and now that they have an upgraded facility, Perkins’ players can practice — albeit with limitations at Shirley Clements Mewborn Field.

There are three covered batting cages in the structure beyond left field. They’re not so large that everybody can show up at once, so players arrive in waves. There you have a very long day.

“We get there at about 7:30, get the heaters cranked up,” said Perkins,whose No. 13-ranked team kicks off the season Friday against Long Island at the University of South Florida-DeMarini Tournament in Clearwater, Fla. “We got done at 5, sometimes 5:30. I have to have lunch, or everyone knows I tend to get grumpy.”

Perkins and her staff have to crank up four space heaters because the hitting facility is not completely enclosed, although it may be in the future.

She said it’s not as much a hassle as it sounds like. Scheduling for days like this, however, can be tricky.

“Sometimes we know ahead of time. [Tuesday] was 100 percent chance of rain,” the coach said. “We’ll have small groups of hitters certain… it might be where we say, ‘Here’s the day if we have rain.’ “

The season is right around the corner. The Jackets hop on a bus for Florida Thursday. Cabin fever is endemic.

“[Tuesday] would have been a great day [to practice outside],” Perkins said. “I would have liked to get outside, work on some defensive situations, and even just hit live on the field. But Mother Nature doesn’t always do what you want. We got done what we needed to get done.”

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