The calendar proclaims it's April, a spring month. Spring is the time when you hear that familiar call of "Play Ball!" But this hasn't been your normal spring progression. The Penn Yan Mustang baseball team, under the able guidance of veteran Coach Marty Olmstead, has faced the same problems that plague all northern climate high school baseball programs. It is still winter outdoors! The fields are frozen at best, totally muddy at the worst, and the temperatures are frigid. But there was a bit of welcome relieve for the Mustang baseball program. Over the school's spring break, they went to Florida. After fundraising all summer and fall, the Orange and Blue jetted off to the Sunshine State. A place where the sun actually shined, the temperature was warm, and the fields were dry. They spent a week down south at the former Dodgertown training facility in Vero Beach and played a little hardball.

Of course not being able to practice or play outdoors took its toll. They played three tough teams who have had some outdoor action already. The result was three losses for the local youngsters. Their first game was with Russell, Ky. They dropped an 11-2 decision to the Bluegrass youngsters. The Mustang's top pitcher, Lukas Larham, pitched quite well. He struckout 10 batters. The senior also lashed a tripe and scored a run. Teammate Eric Riehl had 2 hits in this game and drove in both Penn Yan runs.

The Mustangs faced Plymouth-Whitewater, Pa. in their next game. The Orange and Blue diamond lost 9-2 in this contest. The Keystone State pitcher was a fire-balling righthander with a Division I scholarship from Tennessee Tech waiting for him next fall. Lukas Larham and Eric Reihl picked up hits in this game.

Game number three was a difficult match-up with McDowell High School from Erie, Pa. Yes, the same McDowell High School that the Mustang laxers were snowed out against on Tuesday. McDowell High is a very large city high school. Penn Yan was the smallest school to play during the week. The result was a 20-0 win for the big boys. But the score was bit misleading. Actually there were some very positive things to come out the game for Penn Yan. They put the ball in play striking out only 5 times. And they made some nice plays in the field.

The scoreboard results can be sometimes misleading. The idea is to try and get better every time you take the field. Penn Yan has a really young team this season with only three seniors returning. They will get better the more they play. The Florida trip is just the beginning. They will return home this week to start their Finger Lakes League schedule. Better days will come on the field and the Penn Yan weather might even improve. We have the right to hope!

A couple of more quick baseball notes. The Penn Yan players got to watch the Big-leaguers play during their Florida stay. They watched the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals play an exhibition game. It was the first Major League game experience for several of the players. Also veteran Penn Yan Coach Marty Olmstead will likely win his 200th game this season. He has 5 more wins to go. Let's hope it comes very early in the season!