Forget tough pitching matchups, the Valencia (Ca.) West Ranch High baseball team has much more harrowing concerns. Rattlesnakes, for instance.
Yes, rattlesnakes. The West Ranch field is apparently full of them. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, the team has discovered 11 rattlesnakes on or near the team’s diamond since school started in August. That’s more than one per month, a significant increase from the grand total of 17 that had been discovered in the general vicinity in the past seven years.
In fact, the snakes have been so prevalent that West Ranch’s coaches, brothers Casey and Brady Burrill, have become impromptu experts at removing them from the scene while protecting their athletes.
"We've had them on the field, in the dugouts, on campus," Casey Burrill told the Times. “The strategy is sneak up behind with a long landscape rake, pin him and the other gets the head with a shovel. It's definitely a two-person event."
The William S. Hart School District, of which Valencia is a part, claims that the district is concerned with its students’ health above all else and is focused on ensuring that the snake problem is eradicated, even if they have absolutely no idea what is causing it at the moment.
For their part, the Burrill brothers are finding clever ways to make sure that the district doesn’t forget about the snakes on the field, even adding a rattlesnake counter on the team’s website.
And, as the Times’ Eric Sondheimer notes, the brothers might even have a side venture in television if they think entrepreneurially. If not a “Snakes on a Plane” spinoff made-for-tv film, an Animal Planet serial would certainly seem to be in the Burrill’s wheelhouse.
After all, who else could wield a shovel so expertly without official training?