The Fort Lewis College Softball team continues to be held off from playing on their official home field but is hopeful to return to Aspen Field for a scheduled Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference series March 30.
This year marks the third year many of the players on the team have had to play at satellite-fields, including Aztec High School in Aztec, NM and on other colleges’ fields.
Kaitlyn Barlow, a junior outfielder on the team, said that in her three years on the FLC softball team she has only played one series, or four games, at Aspen Field on campus.
There have been multiple reasons that the field has been unplayable including construction and weather.
During the 2017-2018 season Aspen Field went under renovation, causing the team to play at Aztec High School.
There are no other NCAA compliant fields in Durango and the team has a good relationship with the coach at Aztec High School, Elle Fracker, the head coach of the FLC Softball team said.
“We’ve made Aztec our home away from home,” Fracker said. “So it’s not like we haven’t had a home game, it’s just travelling for home games.”
This season, snow on the field has made the field unsafe to play on, Barlow said.
The team practices in the FLC Whalen Gym this year and has the ability to practice live-pitching and batting in there, FLC junior outfielder Cassie Sloansaid.
When the team became displaced because of the renovations to Aspen Field they practiced off-campus at Folsom Field, Fracker said.
Both Barlow and Sloan said that having to travel so much for home games doesn’t affect their social life because so many of their friends are athletes.
The change in location does have an effect on the budget but it is a coaches job to anticipate and have the ability to accomplish what the team needs to, Fracker said.
“We never want to come down to playing or not playing because of budget,” she said.
Fracker said she doesn’t use these changes and their effect on the budget as an excuse whether or not to do what the team needs to, instead she would rather the reason for not being able to play be because of weather or availability.
Fracker added that the team does not use travelling as an excuse to not succeed as much in the classroom. Barlow agreed that he traveling doesn’t affect the team’s academics.
“We have a really, really, awesomely dedicated team to their academics,” Fracker said.
The team had a 3.4 team GPA for the Fall 2018 semester, Fracker said.
On roads, the team has free time after dinner to get work done, Barlow said.
Fracker said she hopes the team can return to Aspen Field for a scheduled RMAC series Mar. 30.
“The field’s looking really good, its wet” Fracker said.
Fracker said that windy days with constant are best for that type of field to dry out.