The high school sports spring season began last Wednesday, the official first day for baseball, softball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, tennis, and track and field.
Most of Carroll’s teams have yet to get on a playing surface, however, thanks to the lasting effects from Winter Storm Toby. Much of the county saw snow of the near-foot variety blanket the area, meaning diamonds and courts and stadium fields have been covered for nearly a week.
It also means a busy time for Carroll’s athletic directors — postponements are piling up, leaving many in limbo, still waiting to play their first game of the season.
Spring has been interrupted by late winter storms in recent years, but as Westminster AD Terry Molloy said via text message Monday, “this is certainly not the norm.”
Molloy said he was up to 19 postponements (junior varsity included) with Monday’s wipe-out of varsity baseball and softball. Century had 21 postponements, according to AD Randy Pentz. South Carroll was up to 20, and Manchester Valley up to 18.
Winters Mill was at 12 varsity postponements Monday afternoon, said athletic director Jen Gosselin, and she was already relocating a girls lacrosse game from Tuesday to Wednesday because of unplayable field conditions. Gosselin said she saw grass on the stadium field for the first time in a week.
“I don’t think I’m concerned — yet,” Gosselin said. “I think it depends on what area [in Carroll] as far as how your fields look. … It is the beginning of the season, we still have a lot of options.”
The southern end of the county didn’t get as much snow as other areas, which could soon bode well for baseball and softball — if not for the rain in the forecast for the middle of this week.
Tennis saw its first matches of the year take place Monday with six county teams in action. Some players on those teams spent times last week shoveling snow off their home courts in an effort to speed up the melting process.
A few Carroll teams competed in track meets Saturday, but until Monday no baseball, softball, or lacrosse games had been played.
Like Gosselin, and no doubt the rest of his contemporaries, Man Valley AD Troy Warehime said baseball is the one spring sport he worries about most when postponements start to mount.
The sport uses pitch count limits and required rest periods to help pitchers’ arms throughout the shortened season. Having to deal with multiple four-game weeks is a reality now, Warehime said, with the fields being unplayable for the first five days of the season. And that means the potential of taxing some players down the line.
“It’s just unfortunate. Now you have to fit 18 baseball and softball games into five weeks,” Warehime said. “I told someone the other day … this spring is like a Rubik’s Cube that’s broken. You don’t have the right answers, you just do the best you can.”
The snow will melt and fields will thaw, and games will be played before too long. Until then, spring sports athletes and coaches — and their athletic directors — will be waiting.
“The timing couldn’t have been worse,” Gosselin said. “Right now it’s just trying to space things out and find the best time for everything. You have to do what’s best for the kids. It’s so hard to please everybody. … Nobody can control what falls from the sky.”