The El Campo Ricebirds baseball team has been grounded the past week due to the extreme weather across the area.
This season, the Ricebirds were scheduled to have five scrimmages. With cold temperatures last Friday extending through this week, the Ricebirds had to cancel their final three scrimmages against Needville, Victoria West and Lamar.
The Ricebirds play Brazosport on Monday. The matchup was originally scheduled to be the first regular-season game of the year. However, because both teams missed several scrimmages, it’s been changed and now will be the final scrimmage of the season, coming after 11 days away without any practices.
“It’s never good to take that long away from the game as a team,” Ricebirds coach Trent Popp said. “We were starting to really (gel) together as a team and taking basically a week off isn’t the ideal situation.”
El Campo has had two scrimmages against Sweeny and Yoakum, totaling 16 and 2/3’s of an inning, using 10 different pitchers. In the two scrimmages, three pitchers allowed zero earned runs in both games.
Seniors Jackson David and Seth Hallinger and freshman Dean Poenitzsch combined to throw seven innings, allowing one unearned run, two hits, two walks and one strikeout.
The El Campo pitching staff allowed seven of the nine runs in the two scrimmages. After Sweeny scored seven runs in their first outing, they came back and held Yoakum to two runs, one earned.
“I have been very impressed with the amount of quality pitches we are throwing this early in the season,” Popp said. “We have a lot of returning pitchers that will throw most of our innings this year, but I also have been very pleased with the young guys coming in and throwing strikes right away.”
El Campo’s bats pounded out 13 hits and scored 11 runs. The Ricebirds got production from multiple batters. Sophomore Reed Jung had two hits against Sweeny and drove in a run against Yoakum. David had two hits, drew three walks, and scored three runs. The team overall drew more walks than they had strikeouts 16 to 13.
“In my opinion, pitchers always get into mid-season form before hitters do, and we are seeing that right now,” Popp said. “Our hitters are starting to square up the baseball and put some at-bats together. Hitters just take some time to get in synch and on time at (the) plate. I feel like in our last scrimmage we had a few guys that started looking more comfortable at the plate and swing it well.”
Following Monday’s final scrimmage, games will come fast with the Ricebirds scheduled to play Thursday-Saturday in the Columbia and Sweeny tournament.
The El Campo Ladybirds the last few years have dealt with bad weather in the form of rain flooding their field and canceling practices.
This time it was ice, snow, and frosty weather canceling practices, a game and an important tournament.
“Road conditions, electricity concerns and now the water boil requests from the City of El Campo, we have to focus on the safety of players and players families,” Ladybirds coach Roxanne Cavazos said. “The last few days have been difficult for everyone but better (and) warmer days are coming. I am looking forward to seeing the students at school and players on the diamond next week taking advantage of our daily opportunities.”
The Ladybirds will play Fort Bend Christian, Tuesday night at home.