[Eric Ginnard - email@example.com]
USF, which normally plays home games at Joliet Route 66 Stadium, already had relocated its March 17 home opener to Joliet Junior College. The second home game, March 30, still is scheduled for Joliet Route 66 Stadium.
That game, too, might be moved, since turf installation is expected to take 10 days with good weather. The Joliet Slammers’ first game at the stadium is not until May 15.
Adjusting spring baseball to the weather in northern Illinois is not unusual, said Dave Laketa, athletic director at USF.
“It really is part of the time of the year that we play,” Laketa said of the turf project’s effect on USF baseball. “You hope for the best. It’s a short-term delay for a long-term benefit.”
Laketa said USF looks forward to the new artificial turf because it will provide a more reliable surface for a college team that plays in late winter and early spring.
The USF home opener actually is the baseball’s team 27th scheduled game of the season, which started
Feb. 9 and mostly has been played on road trips to schools in southern states.
The team’s only games in a northern state so far have been played on a field with artificial turf in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Some games scheduled for a Marion stadium with a grass field were moved to Cedar Rapids because the field was too wet for baseball, Laketa said.
“If you walk on grass now, it’s like walking on a sponge,” Laketa said last week.