Rain postpones Beloit Snappers opener
The Beloit Snappers practiced early Thursday afternoon under clear skies.
But then the rain came. And it stayed just long enough to postpone the Snappers’ season opener against the Kane County Cougars at Pohlman Field.
It has been rescheduled as a part of a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tonight’s game between the Snappers and Cougars is scheduled for 6:30, and thus becomes the season opener for the two Midwest League baseball teams.
But new Snappers manager Nelson Prada said he was glad his team could get a practice in after two days of travel and adjustment from its spring home in Fort Meyers, Fla.
And Prada’s first impressions were good, he said. A couple of players were already in the locker room by the time Prada got to the park around 1 p.m.
“That’s a good sign,” he said. “They’re anxious to get out on the field. I like to see guys coming in early and guys who want to be here.”
The Snappers, defending Western Division champions, face a Kane County team that finished 21-9 in August and 39-31 in the second half of 2007, falling just short of a berth in the Midwest League playoffs.
The Cougars put together a remarkable turnaround after going 24-45 in the season’s first half.
Beloit is expected to face Craig Italiano tonight as the opening-day pitcher. The tall right-hander, who was a part of the highly regarded 2005 pitching draft class for the Oakland Athletics, spent most of the 2007 season on the disabled list.
He was assigned to Kane County last year after an extended spring training, recovering from a shoulder injury. In his seventh start with the Cougars on May 14, he was hit in the head with a batted ball and suffered a skull fracture that put him back on the DL for the rest of the summer.
Italiano finished the year 0-3 with a 12.71 ERA and has not had a win in professional baseball since Aug. 6, 2005.
Meanwhile, Prada said he was not that disappointed to push back the start of the season.
“No sense in rushing it,” he said. “We have a four-game series against these guys.”
Still, the team is ready to get on the field and play its first real game.
“You always want to get you first at-bat and get up to the plate,” said catcher Greg Yersich.
Outfielder Joe Benson shared those feelings.
“Regardless of whether it gets pushed back or not, it’s still opening day,” he said. “There’s something about getting that first at-bat in the first game.”
And the Snappers get a second chance at that first at-bat tonight—weather permitting, of course.