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Coach: Unseasonable heat ups chance of injuries on diamond

This area’s unseasonably warm temperatures could case trouble on the diamond, Andalusia High School baseball coach Tyler Dent said.

The record high for February in Covington County is 82 degrees, according to an online database maintained by msn.com. Tuesday, the high matched that record, and the forecast calls for a high of 84 today and tomorrow.

“For the past couple years it has been very pleasant,” Dent said. “But with baseball starting in February it is supposed to be very cold.”

The Andalusia baseball team played Monday during one of the hottest days of the year against Trinity Presbyterian.

“Before we went out there to play I made sure to tell the guys to drink plenty of water during the week leading up to the game,” Dent said. “We definitely need to keep hydrated in this heat.”

Dent said that his main concern about the weather being so sporadic is to keep the players healthy.

“Man, their bodies are being worn down,” Dent said. “We work them hard, but always make sure they are eating, drinking the correct amounts of fluid and doing all the little things that will to stay healthy.”

Baseball is a sport that is played throughout multiple seasons, so players must continuously adapt throughout the year.

“One thing that is a big concern with this heat is the pitcher’s arm is more at risk for injury,” Dent said. “So it’s important to switch out the pitchers as often as possible.”

According to a study done by The Mayo Clinic, the extra time high school pitchers living in warm-weather climates spend in baseball activities puts them at greater risk of injuries to their pitching shoulders than their cold-weather peers.

Another big concern is the way the ball travels, said Dent.

“In colder weather the ball won’t travel well at all, but in the warmer weather the ball will fly so I have to prepare my kids for that as well,” Dent said.

“For a long fly ball, a ball hit with a sort of home run trajectory, that’s a ball that’s hit at about 100 mph off the bat, maybe at a 30-degree elevation angle,” said Alan Nathan, professor of physics at the University of Illinois. “The numbers that I have found just by looking at the data, are that a 10 degree Fahrenheit change in temperature will change the distance by something like two and a half feet.”

The next game for Andalusia High School will be against Mosley High School at Northcutt field in Dothan on Thurs., Feb. 22.

“Even though the weather is so unpredictable, I would much rather play in the heat than in the cold, so I am thankful for that,” Dent said.