It’s been a nomadic start to the high school baseball season for the Brewer Witches.
Because of water drainage issues with its Heddericg Field outfield, coach Dana Corey’s club will play its first three home games on three different fields in the area — all away from home.
Brewer opened its schedule with a 2-1, 10-inning victory over Edward Little of Auburn at the University of Maine in Orono last Wednesday and “hosted” Messalonskee of Oakland at Husson University in Bangor on Tuesday night, scoring a 2-0 victory.
The Witches’ next home game against Oxford Hills of South Paris already has been moved to Mansfield Stadium in Bangor at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“Combine the lateness of the (snow) melt and the current weather we’re having and I think we’re at least a week away (from playing at Heddericg Field),” said Brewer athletic administrator Dave Utterback. “It’s too bad because once the field is in usable shape it’s one of the better fields around.”
Early season drainage issues are nothing new for Heddericg, which sits just below the school’s softball complex, Coffin Field, as well as an adjacent shopping center parking lot.
Gravity takes melted snow and rain water from those areas toward the facility, and while the baseball field’s infield is dry, the middle and deeper sections of the outfield remain soggy at best.
“I would estimate in my five years as AD we’ve had to move two, if not three, of our countable home games each season for that same reason,” Utterback said. “It’s not always at the beginning of the season — though it usually is because at the beginning of the season it’s usually an issue — but the field just holds onto the water for so long that it’s a safety issue.”
Brewer’s baseball teams have yet to be able to use all of Heddericg Field for a full practice this spring, Utterback said, and while the school’s junior varsity team is still scheduled to host Mt. Ararat of Topsham on Friday, recent rain added to the wet outfield leaves the location of that game in doubt, as well as another JV home game next Monday against Lawrence of Fairfield.
The Brewer JVs already have had one home game moved, an April vacation week date against George Stevens Academy that was played in Blue Hill.
Utterback said the Brewer baseball program is grateful to the operators of other area baseball diamonds for accommodating its weather-related needs.
“We have a very, very positive relationship with UMaine and Husson and Mansfield Stadium, so fortunately for our kids we’re not having to play these games at the other teams’ home fields,” Utterback said. “We have options up here.”
After hosting Oxford Hills on Saturday at Mansfield Stadium — where 2-1 Brewer dropped a 1-0 decision to Bangor on Monday in its only official road game to date — the Witches’ next scheduled varsity home game is against Skowhegan on May 4.
“We hope to be out there by then,” Utterback said.
Heddericg Field not only is home to Brewer High School baseball, but it hosts the Brewer Falcons American Legion team during the summer as well as the city’s Senior League and Junior League programs.
Then from mid-August through October the field is home to Brewer’s rapidly growing field hockey program.
“From thaw to freeze that’s the most used facility we have in the Brewer School Department,” Utterback said.