March of weather leaves games behind schedule Record precipitation brings sports to halt


A situation that was bleak at the beginning of the week is changing for the better as spring sports teams could be getting a break from an uncharacteristically wet month.

A host of boys and girls lacrosse games are expected to be played this afternoon and tonight, and most baseball and softball teams are optimistic they will be playing next week.

Between the blizzard and rainstorms, local playing fields have taken a March record of 7.47 inches of precipitation.

Practices have been limited, and high school coaches have been preparing their teams on parking lots and indoors.

A limited number of games have been postponed and in some cases canceled, but the bulk of the baseball, softball and lacrosse schedules should be played, barring a rainy April.

"The decision to play lacrosse is a site-by-site one, left up to the schools, but it looks like most of them will be playing [today]," said Rick Wiles, county coordinator of physical education.

"Our schools may have to look at Saturday [tomorrow] as a potential playing date for postponements, which have to be made up in the order of postponements once the season starts."

Several lacrosse games, such as the traditional Annapolis-Severna Park contest scheduled to start the season last week, have been moved to the final date of the regular season, May 10.

Lacrosse teams normally play two games a week, but are allowed to schedule a third game as a makeup, and baseball/softball teams can play four games rather than the customary three.

Severna Park was hoping to get in a baseball game this afternoon at 3:45 while North County managed to play a nine-inning scrimmage at Riverdale Baptist (which has a tarp) in Prince George's County on Monday.

Anne Arundel Community College played a baseball game on Monday, beating Housatonic Community College of Bridgeport, Conn., 2-0.

The Pioneers were able to play as a result of a lot of hard work by school officials, coach Clayton Jacobson and his players in making their field playable.

The Pioneers' home game against defending National JuCo champion Essex was postponed by the snow and has not yet been rescheduled.

Most of the high school baseball teams are just getting on their fields, and those that haven't hope to by the weekend or next week.

"Our division [Friendship] doesn't have any games scheduled next week in baseball and softball, so we hope to get some practice in on our fields starting Monday if we don't get any more rain," Annapolis athletic director Fred Stauffer said.

"Our groundskeeper did not have a chance to get on the fields before the snowstorm, so our teams have not been on them yet. It does look good for our lacrosse game [7:30 p.m. against Meade] Tuesday night and the girls lacrosse team is expected to play Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday."

If girls lacrosse games back up, there could be a serious problem for the officials and that could trickle down to the county Recreation and Parks program.

"We have a limited number of girls lacrosse officials, and we could set up makeups and be ready to play, but not have officials," Wiles said.

If makeups are scheduled for Saturdays, it could affect the Rec and Parks program, which is set to begin April 3.

"We just handed out the schedules for boys and girls lacrosse this week,and we plan to open April 3," said Rec and Parks lacrosse supervisor Franklin Chaney.

"If the high schools go to Saturday games, it would be a problem because of the shortage of girls officials."

Most of the high school girls officials also work the rec games, and there aren't enough to go around.

That problem does not exist in boys lacrosse or the other spring sports.

The Rec and Parks baseball program and most Little League programs don't start until the final weekend in April.

Those groups really have not been affected, except for little practice and tryout time.

"I don't ever remember a March like this one because March is usually dry and windy," Stauffer said.

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