AUGUSTA, Maine — With several high school baseball and softball teams in northern Aroostook County limited to one or two games so far this spring by a lingering snowpack and frequent rain that has left their fields unplayable, the Maine Principals’ Association on Monday extended the regular season in both sports by two days.
The baseball and softball season originally was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, May 31, but now will end on Friday, June 2. Under the MPA’s ruling, those dates may be used for make-up games and the schools will not need permission from the baseball or softball committee in order to reschedule games during the final week of the regular season as is usually the case.
“We’re trying to help schools that are struggling to get their games in,” said Mike Burnham, MPA assistant executive director and liaison to the association’s baseball committee.
Wisdom High School of Saint Agatha had played just one countable game as of Monday, while Madawaska, Fort Kent and Limestone-Maine School of Science and Mathematics had played just two games apiece because of unplayable field conditions.
But the impact of the weather on the schedule wasn’t limited to northernmost Maine.
Penquis Valley of Milo had played just three games entering this week’s play, as had Class A Brunswick in coastal Cumberland County.
Other coastal teams have played limited schedules to date, with Old Orchard Beach with just three of their 16 regular-season games completed while Boothbay Region has played just three of its 14 scheduled contests.
Such a two-day extension of the regular season is not unique for high school baseball and softball, with Burnham saying it likely happens more often than not with schedules inevitably being backed up by spring rain in most years.
The decision to add two playable dates at the end of the spring sports regular-season calendar was made earlier than usual this spring as a result of the persistent weather issues that have kept numerous teams off their home fields.
One of those teams most affected by the soggy conditions has been the Brewer High School baseball team, which has yet to play on its home diamond at Heddericg Field due to wet outfield conditions.
Coach Dana Corey’s club is not behind in its schedule, however, having played its first four home games at either Mansfield Stadium in Bangor or on the artificial surface at the University of Maine in Orono.
The Witches, ranked second in Class A North with a 5-1 record, was scheduled to play a home game on the road again Monday night, with its clash with Mt. Blue of Farmington set for a 6 p.m. start at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University in Bangor.
Postseason play in high school baseball and softball remains on track to start June 6 with preliminary-round contests in both sports.