SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) – High School baseball and softball teams were able to officially start practice Monday and the Rutherford teams didn’t want to waste any time.
The Rams baseball and softball teams got on the field at 12 a.m. on Monday.
“I mean I’ve never experienced anything like this before, it’s freezing but it’s cool that all of us actually came out here to have a great time,” Rutherford baseball player Mykail Westerfield said. “We are staying the night, I mean it’s fun to stay with your team all night and have fun.”
Rams head baseball coach Jamie Bukowski came up with the idea after he realized the first day of practice fell on the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a school holiday. He told his players about it and then got the softball team involved too.
“I was like nobody will show up. It’s late, it’s wintertime, it’s bound to be cold,” Rams head softball coach Jason Rodgers said. “But when I presented it to the girls, they were all for it and they got the word ahead of time cause the boys were talking about it and they were coming to me. And I said if y’all want to do it. We will do it.”
Music was blasting all over the Vera Shamplain Sports Complex for the practice. The teams took one hour to practice and then came together to play some games for an hour. All of it was to celebrate the official start of the season.
“It’s the start of the season. Softball season is always fun,” Rutherford softball player Zy-Aeria Johnson said. “Getting the season started hanging out before the season starts is always fun.”
Both the Rams baseball and softball players agree that this should be done each year to kick off the season.
“From what I know, it’s kinda new and I hope honestly it becomes a tradition. I think it’s really cool and it brings two sports together which is really good,” Rams baseball player Mason Cook said. “Hopefully, it gets kids excited about softball and baseball.”
Coach Bukowski wants it to be not just a tradition for Rutherford, but something that all teams in the area can do.
“That’s my goal. As we’ve talked before, I wanted to kinda change things here. We’ve adopted the motto Change the Culture. This is one of the things we want to change, we want the excitement,” Bukowski said. “And doing little things like this I think energizes the student base.”