The Ottumwa Courier

March 6, 2013

First pitch for Falcons finally here

SCOTT JACKSON
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — The snowy weather of late February has certainly played havoc with the opening portion of the schedule for spring athletics at Indian Hills.

If there was one positive to come from all the snow that hit the Midwest, it gave head baseball coach Cam Walker plenty of time to look work on a “Plan B” for the Falcons’ season opener.

“When we saw the weather that was coming in, I started working on some alternatives,” Walker said after the Falcons’ original opening opponent, Maple Woods, had some of the worst snowfall hit its Liberty, Mo., campus. The weather left the site of the Falcons first four scheduled games unplayable under a heavy blanket of snow.

“I didn’t want to lose four games out of our schedule,” Walker said.

IHCC did find at least one game to replace the four lost at Maple Woods. On the way to an annual trip to Arizona, the Falcons will stop through Oklahoma to open their season at Seminole State this afternoon at 3 p.m. 

“We’ve been able to pick up that on at Seminole State,” Walker said. “Hopefully, we can pick up more as the season goes on. Being this time of the year, it’s hard for teams to get scheduled games in. Hopefully, we can find other teams that also lost games due to bad weather and create some new matchups.”

While IHCC will be playing in their opening game of the 2012-13 campaign, Seminole State will be playing in their 15th after splitting their opening 14 games.

Long-ime head coach Lloyd Simmons has returned for his 27th season at the helm of the Trojans after spending the past 12 years working with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees.

IHCC, meanwhile, is looking to get Walker’s 21st season as head coach off to a winning start. Having to sit back for an extra five days only made the Falcons much more excited to finally get out on the diamond.

“We’ve been ready to go for a couple weeks. Having to wait until (today) only made us more antsy,” Walker said. “It gave us a higher level of cabin fever. It’s time we got on the field and put what we’ve been working on to good use.”

Today’s game is just the start of 12 games in 10 days on the road for the Falcons. IHCC continues the trip in Arizona, which routinely assured the Falcons of playing plenty of games under sunny skies.

“The trip has been really good for us,” Walker said. “We used to go down to Arkansas and Oklahoma, schedule 16 games and only get eight in due to the weather. We’ve never had any weather issues in Arizona.”

“When you’re spending that amount of money to travel, it always makes sense to go somewhere you’re guaranteed to play.”

The Falcons once again will face a number of different teams during their opening trip to the desert. IHCC will face a club team from Arizona State, all-star squads like Pro Train and the Langley Blaze and will face some of the best junior college programs the West has to offer who will certainly have an edge when it comes to gaining in-game experience.

One of the other fun things about the season-opening trip to Arizona is that the Falcons are surrounded by several Major League teams in the midst of Spring Training.

“It gives our players a real professional atmosphere to surround them with,” Walker said. “I think it’s experience they’ll always remember.”