Nearly unbearable heat greeted football and softball teams last week. Though high school coaches tried to get their teams ready for the fall sports season, the summer sun had other plans.
"It's smoking hot out here," Greenbrier softball coach Garrett Black said. "We just keep an eye on it and practice when we can."
Columbia County coaches must monitor the heat index during practices. According to policy set up by the Columbia County Board of Education, any outdoor activities must be stopped if the heat index rises above 100 degrees.
On Wednesday, it wasn't even close.
"I went out there at about 5:30 (p.m.) just to see what it was like," Evans football coach Marty Jackson said. "I stopped on our track and looked and the heat index was at 107. I wondered what it would be if I set it down on the field so I laid it in the grass and went to open our new weight room. When I came back it said it was a heat index of 123 on the football field."
High school teams weren't the only squads affected by temperatures that reached well into the triple digits last week. Officials at the Dixie Boys Baseball World Series in Aiken moved all Tuesday and Wednesday games to an 8 p.m. start time. The move helped the 12 teams competing in the tournament, including the Columbia County All-Star squad, avoid the most brutally hot portions of the day.
In Muscle Shoals, Ala., officials at the Junior Dixie Boys World Series faced similar scorching temperatures. Team Georgia, represented by a group of 13-year-old all-stars from Columbia County, endured a 4 p.m. game in the heat on Wednesday before the tournament officials stepped in and stopped the game after the fifth inning for a 15-minute break. The game resumed after players got the necessary rest, water and shade to stay cool.
More nontraditional ways to avoid the heat were taken at Lakeside High School and Evans High School last week. Lakeside's softball team scheduled a practice for 6 a.m. Friday so they could hit the field before the heat arrives.
Evans' football team held to the same philosophy. The Knights took the practice field at 5 a.m. this week.
"It's a lot cooler, and we're done at 7:45 (a.m.)," Jackson said. "The kids ask for it. They didn't ask for it the first time, but they like it now."
Evans' softball team took the opposite approach and waited for the heat to diminish in the evening.
"We tried to get our pitchers to report at 7 p.m., but last night we couldn't start until 7:35," Evans softball coach Colette Cassedy said. "Sometimes we can't even get two hours in. It's not a school night for them, but it is for us coaches."
According to weather.com on Thursday morning, this week should bring cooler temperatures, with highs in the low 90s.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.