For all of the complications the rain has created for the spring sports teams this year, the St. Ambrose University softball team seems to be taking advantage of the situations the most.
Coach Ron Ferrill turned some originally unwanted time off earlier in the season when things weren't going their way to get his team untracked. With that accomplished, it ultimately turned into a 14-game win streak that led to the Midwest Collegiate Conference title.
Having won the conference crown has turned into another big advantage. Because of snow and cold in Ames, where the MCC Final Four was scheduled to be played at the Iowa State University complex, the Queen Bees will now host this weekend's event. Depending on the weather the next few days, the games will either be played at the Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline or inside the climate-controlled Ambrose Dome on Brady Street in Davenport. Wet weather across the state altered the playing schedule as well as the location. The two play-in games will now start the weekend action instead of already having been played at the higher seeds of those four teams.
Regardless of location, the Queen Bees will definitely be the hottest team in the field, considering that lengthy win streak that allowed them to rally from an 0-4 start in MCC play.
"They've done a lot of maturing here at the end of the year,'' said Ferrill. "I would have liked to have gotten through that earlier in the year. They knew when they started 0-4 that they were better than what they showed. … They just didn't come mentally prepared. We had the physical aspects of the game down.''
As Ferrill told it, a period of five days of rain kept them off the field. But the time spent working on other things turned around the season.
"We had some good heart-to-hearts and did a team-building activity or two and really went to work on our hitting,'' he said. "When we came back for the next game, they played really well and have just never looked back. They have really been building on their own momentum and everyone is stepping up.''
The Queen Bees bring a 38-13 record – just two wins shy of tying the school record for victories – into this weekend's tournament as well as plenty of confidence.
"We're thinking nationals,'' said Kristen Paulson, a senior who prepped at Bettendorf. "We just need to keep the confidence up. Up and down the lineup, we all have real good attitudes and think positive. The big thing is that we all stay confident when we step into the batter's box. We know that we are going to get the job done and we all have faith in each other.''
During that previous wet stretch, as Ferrill said, "something clicked and they really believe in themselves right now.''
And the Queen Bees hope that another wet stretch plays into their favor again.
Wet MCC action
Regarding the baseball tournament that was postponed Friday and will be moved to Modern Woodmen Park, at a minimum, four games plus the conclusion of a fifth, need to be played to determine a champion and the league's automatic qualifier into the NAIA National Tournament. That team must be identified for the NAIA by 8 a.m. Sunday, according to information on the MCC web site. If no more games can be played, No. 2 Viterbo would earn the league's nod as the only team undefeated in the tournament.
Sixth-seeded SAU (14-25) plays top-seeded William Penn (23-17) in the first full game to be played. That will follow the completion of the Grand View vs. Mount Mercy game that was started Thursday in Cedar Rapids before being stopped by rain. GVU leads 6-3 in the top of the seventh of that 9-inning game.
Today is Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.