SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hurricane Michael wrecked their stadium, parts of their school, and in some cases, their homes.
It means a lot to the Rutherford baseball team to simply have a playable field.
Baseball matters beyond wins and losses this year, but they'd still like to win.
Saturday afternoon against Wakulla, another performance in which the Rams were close, but not close enough to pull off an upset. A three run rally in the bottom of the sixth wasn't enough to complete a comeback, falling 8-4 to drop their record to 1-17 overall.
Consider this and the six remaining regular season games tuneups for the district tournament. A win there and they'd make the playoffs regardless of record and the challenges they've faced for seven months.
"We had a transfer and a couple move out of town. That hurts," head coach Cody Chizmar said. "It's never an excuse. These kids come out, they work hard every day, they're doing the things I ask them at practice. Our record doesn't reflect how hard we work. We're still working as hard as we can and we're trying to get better every day to get our shot at the one game in the district tournament."
That's essentially all that's left to play for. Bay and South Walton are tied for the 5A-1 lead at 4-2 with Walton in tow at 3-2. At 0-5, Rutherford will finish last even with a win streak to close the campaign.
One good game in the district semifinal can change everything.
"Every game we play, every practice we have, we're not practicing for our next game, we're practicing for the district tournament," Chizmar added. "These games we're playing are just practice for that. We're going to do the best we can do make the plays when they matter and hopefully at the end of the day, we put together the game we've been looking for and we've been working hard towards."
The Rams host Port St. Joe Monday night, closing the district slate with a home game against Walton on Wednesday.
The baseball of the Shamplain Complex has been repaired enough to host games and practices all season.
To ease the burden of players and their families, there are no fees charged for equipment, etc. this season.