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April 3, 2014

CSU Dome banned from conference play

By Brendan Samsa

CSU Dome

The Cleveland State University Softball team did not play its scheduled three game series against Youngstown State this past Saturday and Sunday as Horizon League coaches have decided conference games can no longer be played in the dome.

Two of the originally scheduled three games were made up in Youngstown Monday with Krenzler Field unfit for play due to the snow. With a dramatic victory in game two the Vikings were able to split the doubleheader.

Alisha Silva was the hero in the second game with her two out, two run, walk-off single which gave Cleveland State a 4-3 victory.

Youngstown State won the first game of the doubleheader 8-4.

The games which were originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in the Krenzler Field Dome finally were able to get underway after much more favorable weather Monday.

The decision to ban dome games from conference play was made this past summer as coaches voted on the issue. Rules between outdoor dirt fields and indoor turf fields follow a different format, leading some coaches to feel teams with domes may have an advantage.

The rules state that if a ball hits the dome ceiling and lands in the infield it would be an out, and in the outfield it would be a ground-rule double. In an outdoor game, a ball popped up in the infield could be a sacrifice fly, which could score a runner, changing the outcome of a game.

Coaches decided on this ruling based off the NCAA postseason rule, stating that teams can’t play indoors during postseason play.

Cleveland State head coach Rebecca Norris was not part of the decision as she was hired after the ruling was made, but she sees it as a fair ruling and understands its reasoning.

“As much as I want to play games, I understand the ruling,” said Norris. “I also understand the turf field aspect, because a turf infield versus dirt infield can change the constructs of a game with how the ball moves off of ground.”

Other than Cleveland State, UIC is the only other team that uses a dome when the weather is still non conducive for outdoor play.

Coach Norris has liked what she has seen from the games that the team has been able to play this season. With 23 games left in the season the Vikings sport a 13-11 record even with the spotty weather postponing many of their games.

“The biggest concern is the lack of consistent play because of the weather,” said Norris. “When we make up rescheduled triple headers they become double headers, losing us a game. But we have been able to keep it together hitting the ball well, scoring lots of runs consistently.”

While conference games will have to be rescheduled for later in the season when the weather permits, non conference games will still be played in the dome. Any game not against a Horizon League opponent will go on as scheduled.