It was almost a spring without incident. The Hall-Dale baseball and softball teams were days, maybe a day, from getting on their fields.

And then the ominous forecast came true, and athletic director Colin Roy looked out the window and saw that winter got in one more blow.

The Hall-Dale High School baseball field is covered in snow after a storm Monday in Farmingdale. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“There’s always a concern, especially when your fields were just about ready to get on them,” he said. “In terms of where we thought we were going and where we hoped we would be, it is a setback for us.”

After a string of sunny, windy and mild days that brought central Maine baseball, softball and lacrosse teams to the brink of being able to hold practices and games on their fields, winter returned in the form of heavy, wet snow that began Monday, was expected to continue into Tuesday and covered those drying fields with a new white layer.

“February, we were like ‘We’re going to be out there, it’s going to be great,’ ” Erskine athletic director Chuck Karter said. “It’s a pain in the butt. … We were probably a week away if we got continued good weather like we did on Saturday and Sunday. This is going to put us back four or five days before we can even work on our fields.”

There is a silver lining to the weather, as temperatures are supposed to be back in the mid-40s by Thursday and into the 50s and even 60s this weekend. Maine Principals’ Association executive director Mike Burnham said there haven’t been talks about shaking up the schedule due to Monday’s storm.

“We’ve had no discussions whatsoever,” he said. “If this were a snowstorm where it was going to be on the ground through the start of the season, we would look at that. But looking at the extended forecast, it looks like by this weekend, it’ll be gone.”

The snow, however, has already had an impact. Erskine boys lacrosse saw its game Thursday against Lincoln Academy moved from its home field to Lincoln’s turf surface. The Cony boys lacrosse team, also slated to play April 11 at Brunswick, saw its game moved to April 29.

Baseball and softball teams have seen the ramifications as well. Gardiner athletic director Nate Stubbert said his teams were a day of good weather away from getting on their fields, but that Monday’s snow is likely going to force them to move their home opener next Tuesday against Brewer. He added that the boys lacrosse opener on the same day against Brunswick is in similar jeopardy.

Area baseball fields, including at Waterville Senior High School, were empty of players and fans as snow cancelled preseason games on Monday Morning Sentinel photo by Dave Leaming

“Our fields are in tough shape as it is,” Stubbert said. “This is certainly a setback for our fields here.”

Even Roy, whose fields were close to dry a day ago, said Hall-Dale baseball and softball openers next Friday against Wiscasset are in doubt as a result of the weather.

“My optimism’s a little bit tempered because of what we’ve got going here right now,” he said.

Karter said most teams would likely be finding themselves in the same situation.

“I think this maybe added a postponement or two for some schools,” he said.

Monday had a bigger effect further north and west, where winter was harsher and more snow remained. Roy said he had spoken with Presque Isle’s Mark White and Caribou’s Dave Wakana, and that their fields were still buried.

“They had a lot of snow this year, and they still have a lot of snow on the ground,” Roy said. “I don’t think they think that they’ll be even on their fields until maybe the first or second week in May.”

Bridgeway baseball coach Peter Kirby said his team had an exhibition game Saturday against Waterville at Colby College, and the Bandits are scheduled to play another exhibition game at Old Orchard Beach on Saturday. Bridgeway’s regular season opener, scheduled for April 22 against Hall-Dale, will likely need to be moved to Hall-Dale or a neutral site, Kirby said. Neither of the team’s home fields at Carrabec and Madison high schools will be ready.

“Carrabec still has two feet of snow,” Kirby said. “Same with Madison.”

The only thing occupying fan bleacher seats was snow at the Coombs Baseball Field at Colby College in Waterville after a game against Thomas College was cancelled due to a snowstorm Monday. Morning Sentinel photo by Dave Leaming

An exhibition game at Skowhegan next Monday is also in doubt, Kirby said.

With no school at either Carrabec or Madison on Monday, Bridgeway players held an optional batting practice at Lacasse Bats indoor batting cage in Skowhegan. It was common practice around the area, as teams either had their practices or moved back inside, after coming tantalizingly close to being able to venture onto their fields.

“I think it’s more frustrating for the kids who really want to get outside,” Roy said. “Coaches have to be really good at keeping the kids motivated.”

It isn’t, however, anything unusual. Getting on the fields before April vacation is rare, and schools have learned how to handle these changes in plans.

“In the spring, everything kind of impacts the schedule,” Karter said. “We’re so used to it. Unfortunately, it’s nothing new. If you’re an AD in Maine, you deal with this.”


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