Johnson: Keeping on top of spring schedule changes

Barring an 11th-hour cancellation, the area’s first prep baseball games are being played today when Morris takes on Brother Rice and Jacksonville at Jacksonville’s Play the Turf Jamboree.

As I talk to more and more coaches, I’m hearing more and more pessimism about when the first games will be played in greater Grundy County.

Newark’s first two baseball games, which were supposed to be Saturday versus Dwight and Monday at Wheaton Academy, were canceled in the middle of this week. The Norsemen are now scheduled to open Thursday against Aurora Central Catholic at home; coach JR Veliz says getting the field ready by then will be a challenge.

Interestingly, Newark has not yet canceled its softball games against Dwight and Wheaton Academy as I write this.

Seneca baseball coach Kirk Houchin fully expected his Fighting Irish to get in their first, if not all of their first five games. That’s because they have none scheduled until going on their annual trip to southern Illinois next week.

It’s the games the Irish have after their return that make Houchin uncertain. Seneca is supposed to host Putnam County for a doubleheader next Saturday.

“We’ve actually played Putnam County five years in a row at Putnam County, and we were supposed to be home with them many of those years,” Houchin said Tuesday. “We always play them an early doubleheader. It always seems like our diamond’s just not quite ready yet, and they have two diamonds that they can pick from, and they get one ready, and we’re just happy to play. So we travel, and we’ll do that again if we have to, but it’d be nice to have that home doubleheader. It’s gonna have to do some improving here.”

While working on Gardner-South Wilmington’s baseball preview early Thursday afternoon, I emailed coach Todd Grieff to make sure that the Panthers’ first few games hadn’t been postponed. His reply read, “not yet, but not looking good.”

Not an hour later, we got word that the Panthers’ opener, scheduled for Monday against Coal City, is off.

I’m expecting the cancellations and postponements to continue for the next few days anyway. Hopefully they won’t be a spring-long issue. Anyway, for the latest on changes to the schedule, follow @Herald_Sports on Twitter, and we’ll keep our area schedule in the paper as updated as it can be.