The high school sports season opens this week in central Maine with an abbreviated schedule that includes a little track, girls lacrosse and Richmond baseball and softball. The majority of schools begin schedules next week.

Girls lacrosse teams from Cony, Gardiner and Messalonskee get under way today with hopes of going deep into the playoffs. Cony plays at Brunswick, Messalonskee is at Mt. Ararat and Gardiner hosts Lincoln Academy. The Maranacook/Winthrop boys lacrosse game at Lincoln has been postponed due to a wet field.

On Saturday, Richmond baseball and softball teams each host Vinalhaven for a doubleheader. Both Richmond teams are coming off Class D state championships. Thursday’s track and field meet at Gardiner, which included Erskine Academy among five teams, has been postponed due to a wet infield.

In its three-year existence, Cony girls lacrosse has yet to beat Brunswick, although the Rams came within two goals last season. They’ll play today at a disadvantage since four players, including three starters, are on a class trip to Italy.

“I’ve had to bring up some younger players to kind of fill in those holes,” Cony coach Gretchen Livingston said.

The Rams looked sharp in a round-robin scrimmage Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, defeating Biddeford, Bonny Eagle and South Portland. Livingston, though, has tempered her enthusiasm.

“We graduated three of our top five scorers,” she said. “Defensively, I think we’ll be OK.”

Gardiner returns Becca Paradee and Jenn Day, who combined for 95 goals during the past two seasons, and has added a third scorer in senior Kayla Rinaldi, a transfer from New York.

“She’s got a rocket of a shot,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said.

The Tigers were originally scheduled to play Maranacook, a first-year team, but the program didn’t get off the ground and the Class B schedule was revamped. Their game today could be in jeopardy as well since the field remains wet.

“It’s just a little messy right now,” Gallant said.

Like Gardiner, Messalonskee returns a strong offensive group in Abbey Stacey, Maddie Kadnar and Amy Jose. The Eagles will be tested today against a Mt. Ararat team that won the Eastern Maine Class A championship last spring.

Richmond softball should be even stronger than it was a year ago when it beat Deer Isle-Stonington for the state title.

“We really didn’t lose a lot,” Richmond coach Rick Coughlin said.

The Bobcats return their top two pitchers in junior Leandra Martin and sophomore Jamie Plummer and as he did last season Coughlin will pitch each of them every other game. Richmond also returns its double play combination of cousins Tara and Danica Hurley. Tara is starting her fourth year at second base while Danica returns to shortstop for her third straight year.

Richmond baseball lost the bulk of its team to graduation but will still be competitive in Western Maine Class D. Coach Ryan Gardner will start senior Wade Tuttle in the first game today while Tyler Harrington or Randy Moody will start the second.

As of mid-week the game remained in question because of a wet field. The Bobcats have yet to play on it.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]