While waiting out the rain to play West Chester East in a PIAA Class AAAA state baseball quarterfinal game, St. Joseph's Prep coach Christian Rupertus has had a take-it-light approach with his players.
"At this point in the season, our job as coaches is pretty much skill maintenance, doing some little things to keep the players sharp and fresh," he said. "I have a senior-laden group. If a player feels like he needs extra swings in the cage, he'll go out and do it."
The Hawks, ranked No. 7 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, had been scheduled to meet the No. 2-ranked Vikings on Thursday. Showers forced postponements in each of the last two days. They'll play today, weather and field conditions permitting, at 4 p.m. at Glen Mills in Concordville.
On Thursday, the Prep hit for about an hour at the 21st Ward Field in Andorra. With many of the players taking final exams, there was no practice yesterday. Because of recent flooding at the school's fieldhouse, a ceiling-mounted batting cage is not available for use.
Before leaving today for Glen Mills, the Hawks are expected to have a short practice at 21st Ward.
The postponements have resulted in a possible switch in starting pitchers for the Hawks. Rupertus was thinking last night about calling on Kyle Mullen, who notched nine strikeouts in Monday's first-round state win over Garnet Valley, instead of fellow senior righthander Kevin Gillen.
For West Chester East, trying for its first state crown since 2003, righthander Neal Herring is expected to start.
Two other quarterfinal games, involving three other area teams, have likewise been on hold and will be played today if the weather breaks and fields dry in time. In Class AAAA, No. 8-ranked North Penn and No. 6-ranked Council Rock North are slated to square off at 3 p.m. at Spring-Ford's Ram Stadium.
In Class AA, New Hope-Solebury's Cinderella season is set to continue against District 3 champion Brandywine Heights at 4 p.m. at King's College in Wilkes-Barre.