Rain, snow force spring sports off county's fields of streams

SIDELINES

March 18, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

Should we call off the spring sports season?

Or maybe we should move it to the fall.

Just kidding, but a lot of frustrated baseball, softball and lacrosse coaches are beginning to wonder if there will be a spring sports season.

"This is the worst it has ever been," said Arundel baseball coach and athletic director Bernie Walter.

"About 15 years ago, we got hit with a snowstorm the last week of February and we were two weeks getting onto our field. This time, it will be a month before we get onto our field," he said.

Walter is irritated that the county didn't roll the dirt dumped on his field before the bad weather struck.

"Nobody would listen to me, and the reason they couldn't roll our field was because they had to work on Old Mill's field," Walter said.

Old Mill has a new diamond with a grass infield this spring.

"Our baseball field is a project that has been in the works since 1979," Old Mill athletic director Jim Dillon said.

Mel Montgomery, the Patriots' baseball coach since 1979, said before the blizzard hit, "We've been told that we should be able to play on our field when most others in the county can't."

Now that statement is truer now than ever. The Patriots' new field has a state-of-the-art drainage system and sprinkler. It's not Camden Yards, but it has Montgomery ecstatic and Walter annoyed.

"There is no way we will be able to play our opener at Arundel on March 29," said Walter, whose Wildcats field was considered one of the best in the state until this spring.

"The infield dirt is full of ruts, and now with this snowstorm, it's going to be a month before we can get on the infield. We will probably have to switch the first game with Southern to Harwood." If the Bulldogs' field is ready.

A couple of weeks ago, Don Brooks, manager of Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans, announced a schedule of 50 games -- college and high school. Yesterday, he and his crew were watching the snow melt on their blue-ribbon field.

"It probably won't be until the middle of next week before we can get on the field," said Brooks' assistant, Barry McGraw.

McGraw was reasonably certain that five games scheduled this weekend at Cannon would be wiped out. A Coppin State doubleheader with Providence College last Saturday was canceled by the blizzard.

And it's doubtful now that baseball, softball and lacrosse teams will get in all of their scrimmages because of soggy fields throughout the county.

Many public school lacrosse teams are scheduled to open their seasons Tuesday or next Friday. Severna Park is scheduled to play host to archrival Annapolis at 7 p.m. Tuesday in what is always a crucial Class 4A clash, but who knows if Roberts Stadium will be ready?

Severna Park athletic director Andy Borland, who is also the Falcons' football coach, is more protective of the stadium turf than he is of his living room carpet, and he has been known to call off games on the main field when it sprinkles.

"We have to play it day by day, and hopefully we can squeeze in some of the scrimmages," said Rick Wiles, county coordinator of physical education who gave the spring sports teams permission to practice while school is out.

"They are allowed to practice if they consider it safe at their school."

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