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Eric Peterson, Published April 10 2013

Concordia, MSU Moorhead schedules suffer delays

MOORHEAD – In his 35 years as Concordia head baseball coach, Bucky Burgau

hasn’t seen a spring like this.

“It’s reached a different point,” Burgau said. “I always feel on average we’ve been outside on April 1. We are way behind.”

Colder-than-average temperatures and lingering snow cover have wreaked havoc on the Cobbers baseball season. The team has played one doubleheader since March 28 and has yet to play on its home field.

“Our most formidable opponent is Mother Nature,” cracked Cobbers head softball coach Mike Reese, whose team hasn’t played a game since March 22.

“We had the late snow, and we aren’t getting any warm weather. It’s too cold. Nothing is drying up.”

The Minnesota State Moorhead softball team has played 27 games this season, but all of those have been on the road. MSUM’s field is not playable now and may not be ready in time to play any home games this spring.

“We haven’t had any games canceled yet, but it forces us to travel every single game,” said Dragons head coach Kesley Fehl. “We are missing more classes. We are spending countless hours on a bus.”

The Dragons had hoped to host Upper Iowa and Winona State this weekend at Concordia. But that won’t happen. Those games are likely to be played at Fayette, Iowa, and Winona, Minn.

The Dragons haven’t had an outside practice this spring, forcing them to do prep work in Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“It’s hard on the players, but they keep a pretty good attitude about it,” Fehl said. “They just want to play.”

The Dragons football team had their first spring practice on Tuesday night at North Dakota State’s Dacotah Field, which has artificial turf. The conditions were less than ideal, with temperatures in the 20s and wind gusts up to 21 miles per hour.

“It limits some of the progress that you can make,” Laqua said. “It’s tough to pass when it’s that cold and windy.”

MSUM is scheduled to have all of its four practices this week at either Fargo Shanley or NDSU because MSUM’s practice fields are not playable.

“You have to pile practices on top of each other, which isn’t exactly ideal,” Laqua said.

Laqua hopes MSUM can get back on its own practice field next week, but that remains uncertain. The Dragons spring game is scheduled for April 27.

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference softball tournament is scheduled for May 3-4 at Gustavus. The Cobbers have yet to play a league game. Starting Saturday, the softball team is slated to play eight doubleheaders in 13 days.

The MIAC baseball tournament is set for May 10-12 in Minnetonka, Minn. The Cobbers have played two league games. Starting next Wednesday, the baseball team is scheduled to play 14 games in 11 days.

While those tournament dates haven’t been changed to date, there is a chance they could be moved back.

“At this point, we are at least considering that,” said Matt Higgins, who is the MIAC’s assistant to the executive director. “Things are just going to get a little bit tighter as we get to these dates. … It’s just a battle. We are trying to do what we can.”

Even though Concordia has artificial turf on its baseball infield, Burgau said that field won’t be playable until at least the middle of next week.

The latest home opener the Cobbers have had in baseball was April 18 during the 1997 season.

“I think we need some 50-degree days and the sun out and the wind blowing to really help us out,” Burgau said. “Our guys have stayed on task, and I’ve been really pleased about that.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com