COPING with the heat

Wednesday, July 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

After a light rain Monday, we found ourselves in the beginning of a heat wave. In fact, the National Weather Service issued its first heat advisory of the summer on Tuesday. KOTV's Sean Mossman visited a local baseball tournament to see how young athletes are coping with the heat.

Nearly a hundred teams from all over the nation are here for this week’s national youth tournament. The teams from the south often play in heat advisories and are veterans of the weather. Teams from the north are sometimes learning as they go. Tulsa's first heat advisory of the summer, and it couldn't have come at a worse time for these little leaguers. About a hundred under-13 teams gather for their national tournament in Broken Arrow and Tulsa. Many of those teams hail from the Sunbelt, but several have made the trip from up north. When the boys from Worthington, Ohio left home last week the temperature was in the mid 80's. Water is a must, buckets-full are hung in dugouts just in time to meet the high demand. Running a close second are the sports drinks. Josh Anderson from Illinois, "Well we had two games today. Probably each bottle twenty ounces and I think I've probably drank three bottles."

The team from O’Fallon, Illinois has some practice at playing in the heat. Their coaches say it usually hits 100 at least once a year, and they know all the tricks to staying cool. Tarps and department store tents serve as shade inside the exposed dugouts and in the stands. Ice and wet towels are in high supply. Another way coaches from O'Fallon try to keep their boys from getting sick is by regulating their eating on game days. O'Fallon coach Ferd Lamar, "We try to get them to eat pretty lite. We ate plenty of time before we came out here. We ate right after we played this morning so that wouldn't be much of a factor this afternoon. Just make sure they drink lots of fluids. That's the big thing around here." And, that's the game plan for the rest of tournament week. With temperatures and heat indexes expected in the hundreds all week, the liquids will continue to flow.

There are several tournaments scheduled for the Tulsa area in the next few weeks. With so many teams in each of these tournaments, they're forced to play games in the heat of the afternoon. The good news, organizers tell KOTV, is that there's plenty of water to go around.