BUTTE — When it comes to early spring weather in Montana, the only thing truly predictable is that's wholly unpredictable.
Case in point — the blanket of snow still covering 3 Legends Stadium and the continued snow showers that are forecasted to keep peppering Butte throughout this week.
It's a familiar pattern for Treasure State high sports that are typically slated to begin in late March or early April. And for Butte Central's first baseball team — one that's already seen the first three games of its inaugural season jettisoned due to unplayable field conditions — the warmer days of spring can't come soon enough.
The Maroons have spent the entirety of their practices leading up to their eventual first game in the confines of the Maroon Activities Center. The closest they've come to getting to play outside? Running a few drills in the parking lot.
Still, uncooperative weather isn't dampening the spirits of this team.
"It's no fun being in the gym but I'm watching them get better every single day in here," said Central head coach Richie O'Brien. "And that's what it's all about."
O'Brien has been an assistant coach in a variety of capacities over the years, but this squad will the first he leads as a head coach. He's already coached the majority of his players in football or track and field and — unsure if anyone would apply to take the reins of a brand new program — stepped in.
"I love these kids and just wanted to make sure that they had somebody that cared about them," O'Brien said.
The experience level on Central's roster is as varied as Montana spring weather. On one end of the spectrum are players who've either never played the sport or haven't played since they were much younger.
On the other end is senior pitcher Rye Doherty, who was part of the Butte Miners run to a regional championship last summer.
"We have literally every level of play," O'Brien said. "We had some kids come out just cause they wanted to have a good time and they haven't been out here forever. And everything in the middle — we've got some very young kids and then all the way up to Rye, who is an elite baseball player in Montana.
As one of Central's most experienced and proven players, Doherty knows that he'll be looked to for leadership and guidance as this squad heads into uncharted waters.
"I love it cause everyone's looking to me to coach them up a little bit, give them some tips and just be a good role model," said Doherty. "It sounds corny but they look up to you and I like it. It motivates me to help them and keep my temper and do as best as I can."