'If it takes until August, we'll play in August' MPSSAA director says weather won't force cancellation of playoffs


They're going to play, probably later than sooner. But fear no more that there will be no state baseball playoffs.

"If it takes until August, we'll play in August, but eventually we will play the state tournament," said Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) Executive Director Ned Sparks.

"We will play when we can play and despite all the rain, we don't feel that we are pressed against the wall right now. The weather should break in the next day or so."

It has rained every day in the month of May, postponing 101 of 108 first-round and quarterfinal baseball playoff games, but there are still five days to play the four region games before the regularly-scheduled start of the state semifinals on Tuesday.

"It's not necessary to panic yet," said Bernie Walter, Arundel High baseball coach and Class 4A East region tournament director. "We just need to wait it out.

"We don't need to play doubleheaders or move a bunch of games to one site. Eventually, we will play and get it done. And there are rain dates for the state semis and finals."

The rain date for the start of the state semifinals is May 20 for the four designated sites: Class 4A at Kelly Field in Gaithersburg; Class 3A at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans; Class 2A at Arundel High in Gambrills; and Class 1A at McCurdy Field in Frederick.

If region games are unable to be played today, which is likely with all the rain that fell yesterday, the region finals could be moved to Monday.

Would the state semifinals then be moved to the Wednesday rain date?

"I don't know yet," said Sparks. "We still might play Tuesday.

"One thing's for sure, everybody will start with fresh arms. They might be tired when it's all done, but they're sure well-rested now."

As for practice before play is resumed, most of the teams have been working indoors in their gyms and there have been days when they have been able to get outside to throw and hit in the drizzle.

This late in the season, lack of regular practice is not a major concern for most teams.

State finals are scheduled for May 22 (4A, 7 p.m.) and May 23 (1A, 12 noon; 2A, 3.30 p.m. and 3A, 7 p.m.) at Joe Cannon Stadium. The rain date is Monday, May 25 at Joe Cannon with games then to go at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

If the weather prevents the finals from being played on time, Sparks said the MPSSAA would simply come up with new dates at the same sites or new sites.

As the executive director said, "If it takes until August, we'll play in August."

Pub Date: 5/13/98

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