Nothing could prepare Lisle baseball coach Pete Meyer for what he saw in the wake of last week's flooding rains.
While watching television he saw an overhead image, taken by helicopter, of his varsity field off Route 53. The view was shocking.
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"It was incredible," Meyer said. "The outfield fence was completely underwater, and that's 5 or 6 feet high."
The entire field and the area surrounding it were underwater. As of Saturday about 4 feet of water still remained, and by the time Meyer managed to reach the field he couldn't believe what he discovered.
A large metal lockbox and a portable pitching mound floated away and wound up at a nearby golf driving range. The portable toilets also floated to that area, where he found one of his wooden storage boxes sitting atop a toilet.
Several days later the field is still a long way from being playable.
"It's not underwater anymore, but it's really soft," Meyer said. "Now it's just a matter of finding somewhere to play."
The Lisle Park District ruled this week out in terms of playing on the field. Depending on the weather, Benet coach Scott Lawler offered his nearby field as an alternative for the Lions.
A home-and-home two-game Interstate Eight Conference series early next week against Seneca may turn into a road doubleheader under the lights.
Lisle will find a way to play. It's just a matter of being a little creative.
"There's a 40-foot tree limb sitting in front of our dugout right now, so there's a lot that needs to be done," Meyer said. "But I tell the kids all the time, you can't worry about the things you can't control. We'll deal with this the best way we can."
Back it up:
Faced with the prospect of playing six games in seven days, most coaches would dread the thought of going that deep into a pitching staff.
Not Montini coach Bob Landi.
Having games backed up because of poor weather feeds right into the Broncos' strength. Even during a long week packed with games, Montini has the pitching depth to keep up with most teams.
"We've got nine pitchers on our staff," Landi said. "And I'd say we've got six quality starters."
Montini's rotation starts with Ben Dobosenski, who hasn't given up an earned run, Tyler Quick and Chris Bartosz. From there it goes to Eric Frontzak, who actually picked up the save in Monday's 2-1 Suburban Christian Conference win over St. Francis.
Sean Frontzak, the team's closer, also could fill in. Justin Chenski is a lefty specialist. Brendan Nemeth and Andrew Klysk are two additional juniors ready to step up.
While opponents are struggling to find arms at the end of the week, Montini's just getting warmed up.
"It'd be hard to play seven in a week, but if we had to we could do it," Landi said. "It's kind of been difficult to get all of our guys innings because of this weather.
"Our top guys are getting plenty of innings, but we just haven't been able to get the rest of those guys into games," he said. "The way the schedule's about to stack up, though, it looks like we'll get those guys in there."
Let's play two:
It's certainly not the way Benet coach Scott Lawler drew up the schedule.
Because of weather and other issues, though, it is what it is.
The Redwings have tried to patch together an April slate of games through fits and starts, a rough span of about two weeks that began with an April 9 win over Conant.
Three days later Benet traveled to South Bend, Ind., Lawler's old stomping grounds as a college coach, to play a pair of weekend games. It took another nine days for Benet to find another game.
"We were supposed to play at Notre Dame, but then we got snowed out," Lawler said. "We had Neuqua Valley out here and we were ready to play, and then it started pouring. We can't seem to catch a break with games."
The big trouble came with last week's flooding rains that caused severe damage to the field. The dirt around the shortstop area eroded and swept away into the outfield.
After two days of working on the field -- including a Saturday that forced the postponement of an East Suburban Catholic Conference doubleheader against St. Viator -- Benet's field finally became playable.
School rules permit games to be played on Sunday, so the Redwings and Lions shifted the twinbill to the next day. If not for that, 11 days would have passed between games.
"At this point you just have to play anytime you can," Lawler said.
The interruption came at a bad time for Benet, which won seven straight before splitting Sunday's games against St. Viator. The Redwings fell to 9-5 after Monday's ESCC loss to Nazareth.
"I never want to discredit the opponents we're playing, but we're definitely not playing like we were two weeks ago," Lawler said. "I see it with timing and rhythm. It really kind of messed us up."
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