COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge baseball team spent the afternoon before its showdown with Hickman in hoodies and rain boots, sweeping puddles off the tarp spread over its infield while a steady downpour formed new ones.
"Just a typical day in Missouri," Bruins coach Justin Towe said as his entire squad banded together to flip over the tarp to drain it.
Rock Bridge (9-3) vs. Hickman (7-3)
WHEN: 5 p.m.
WHERE: To be determined based on field conditions at each school.
The rain, which didn't seem to stop Wednesday, had the Bruins preparing for the possibility of a home game Thursday night. The first matchup against the Kewpies this spring is scheduled to be at Hickman, depending on how well its field handled Wednesday's storm. Hickman does not have a tarp, so the thinking is Rock Bridge will be at least playable, if not perfect.
"The outfield is still going to be a lake," Towe said. A decision will be made by noon Thursday.
If the game is played, Rock Bridge will call on ace Kyle Teter to counter Hickman's Jonathan Jones. A three-pitch pitcher who relies a lot on his changeup, Teter threw a bullpen session Tuesday and prepared to rest Wednesday. Then the rain hit, and he was getting soaked pulling the tarp with the rest of his teammates, laughing when they slipped.
"Everyone dreads coming out for the tarp, but then everyone has fun doing it," third baseman Jansen Smith said.
Teter agreed, saying the team is lucky it gets along.
"If we didn't like each other," he said. "We'd be at each others' throats right now."
The players won't worry about where they are playing Thursday, saying the crowd will be bigger than usual either way. A game between Columbia's two main public schools usually results in a matchup between friends, or at least players who are familiar with one another.
Smith, for instance, has played with Jones and catcher Colby Fitch in the past. Teter remembers traveling to Cooperstown, N.Y., at age 10 for a tournament with Fitch and Ryan McMahan.
But before they could play, they needed to sweep. Their work might end up being for naught, if Hickman's field dries in time. Or it could be the reason any high school baseball is played Thursday in Columbia.
"We'll just wait for the text," Smith said.