For the Madras White Buffalos softball team, their season is less than a month away.
Right now they’re practicing in the midst of a serious drought, causing serious problems.
“COVID hit, the drought hit and we have such a patchy field now, I don’t know how they are going to get it back to something that is an actual reliable, playable surface, that’s not going to get our girls injured,” said head coach Shawna McConnell.
Dry, rocky dirt and yellow grass might be what they see all year.
“We don’t know what is going to happen with water again this year, so it could look like this the entire season and that is definitely a concern,” said McConnell.
The players are feeling the effects first hand.
“I slid into second, it hurt really bad just cause there is no dirt, it’s really dry, It’s not fun honestly,” said senior Marilyn Tom.
Adding more, softer dirt is only a temporary fix.
“It blows away and then you have to drag further down, further down, it blows into our lip, raises it up, that is always an issue .. the lip is something that I have had to deal with my entire time here at Madras High School,” said McConnell.
Other teams in the Tri-Valley Conference, West of the Cascades, are more concerned about too much water.
“On our side of the mountain it is wind and drought that is killing our fields,” said McConnell.
According to the 15-year head softball coach when it comes to playing surface, the solution for too much water and not enough water, could be the same.
“I know the valley deals with too much rain and they need turf for rain and on this side of the mountain, I will tell you what turf would solve all of our problems as far as the drought, the dirt and the wind, since we have all of the situations going on,” said McConnell.
A dream for both McConnell and the White Buffalos.
“I think more and more schools are going to go that route, I just hope Madras isn’t the last,” she concluded.