From the Sideline

Column: Storms make mess of high school athletics schedules

May 2, 2014 

Strong storms, and at times just the threat of severe weather, disrupted high school athletic events scheduled to take place early last week.

That created a fair amount of headache as schools are looking to close out the regular season in a timely fashion before state playoffs.

Baseball, softball and girls soccer teams must report their regular season results to the N.C. High School Athletic Association before 6 a.m. on Monday, May 12. That means teams truly need to have all games played no later than Saturday, May 10, since Sunday games are not allowed.

Like many schools, East Wake and Knightdale were still sorting through rain-outs from April 25 when tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms nixed nearly all athletic events originally scheduled for last Monday through Wednesday.

“This has been the worst spring I think we’ve ever had,” said Knightdale Athletics Director Guy Blough, who is set to retire in June. “It’s a great way for me to go out.”

You can pick up on Blough’s sarcasm.

For East Wake, bad weather left the baseball team playing three consecutive days into the weekend. The Warriors were scheduled to make up their April 25 rain-out against Southeast Raleigh on the road Saturday morning. They were already scheduled to play at Clayton as scheduled Friday and pushed back a Tuesday washout with West Johnston to Thursday.

The Warriors canceled a second softball meeting with Southeast, a team they defeated 21-0 in their first meeting of the season. But the weather forced East Wake to bump one softball game forward to the week ahead. Athletics Director Jon Hasbrouck said the softball contest against West Johnston, originally scheduled for last Tuesday, would either be played this coming Monday or Friday.

East Wake’s boys tennis team saw its match against Green Hope in the first round of the dual team playoffs pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday due to tornado warnings throughout the region. Then, the match was postponed a second time, to Thursday, after the daylong storm on Wednesday.

The Warriors got in a girls soccer game at West Johnston on Monday, while Knightdale’s soccer game scheduled for the same day against Southeast Raleigh was delayed to Thursday.

Knightdale made up its varsity baseball and softball games against Harnett Central (that were rained out April 25) on Monday. The school shifted baseball and softball games with Southeast Raleigh from Tuesday to Thursday last week.

The Knights’ baseball, soccer and softball games against Garner slated for last Wednesday were played Friday, instead.

That worked out well since the baseball and softball games with Garner were originally penciled in for Friday, but were redrawn for Wednesday to work around a hall of fame event at Garner. As a result, Friday was a wide open date for the Knights when they looked to reschedule their clash with the Trojans.

Mudcat honors: Carolina Mudcats pitcher Ryan Merritt was dubbed the Cleveland Indians’ organizational player of the week of April 21-27.

The 22-year-old southpaw tossed the first complete game of the season in the Carolina League in a 2-1 win to split a doubleheader with the Frederick Keys on April 21. He allowed four hits and one unearned run over seven innings.

A native of McKinney, Texas, Merritt got off to a 3-0 start in his first four outings this season.

Through that point, he led the league in earned runs average (.37) and walk plus hit allowed per inning pitched (.82). He didn’t give up more than five hits in a single appearance and held batters to a .165 average. He went 14.2 innings without giving up an earned run.

Cleveland picked up Merritt in the 16th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

He started in 25 games for Carolina and Lake County last year, allowing 14 earned runs across his final 53.2 innings of the season. His 2013 ERA of 3.52 was the fourth best in the Indians player development system.

Moody: 919-829-4806 or amoody@newsobserver.com

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