Weather has played havoc with lacrosse, baseball seasons As postponements mount, school officials scurry to make alternate plans

April 05, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Ah, the sights and sounds of spring.

The squish of athletic shoes as they plop through gobs of mud.

The thunk of balls as they bounce off hardwood gym floors instead of grass fields.

The plastic banging of telephone receivers as harried athletic directors re-schedule yet another rained-out sports event.

The weather has been tough on high school sports.

The boys lacrosse team of state finalist Mount Hebron has played twice since the spring sports season officially opened March 21 -- once in a snowstorm at Patapsco Middle School and once in a driving rainstorm. It won both.

"We really wanted to get the games played," Vikings assistant coach Sonny Zigler said.

Postponed Vikings games against North Carroll and Westminster are re-scheduled for Wednesday and April 15, respectively.

Although tough on all sports, the weather has devastated the baseball schedule. Of the original 42 games scheduled to date, 25 were postponed, three canceled and three suspended by darkness and unlikely to be finished because of an overcrowded make-up schedule. Teams can play at most four games in one week.

Hammond didn't complete its first baseball game until Tuesday -- 13 days into the season. It was a 7-4 upset of ninth-ranked Centennial.

The Bears (1-1) have had four postponements, and played one game with North Carroll that is suspended in the 10th inning and never may be completed.

"We're backed up from now until the end of the season," Hammond baseball coach and athletic director Bob Maxey said.

Centennial (1-2), a title contender, has had problems getting its inexperienced infield enough practice -- and the Eagles suffered a key infield error during Hammond's three-run winning rally Tuesday. Centennial also lost its Westminster game due to infield errors.

"This spring's been pretty bad," Eagles coach Ron Martin said. "I remember colder seasons, but not this much moisture. You can only do so much in the gym. You can't get a full infield workout. We've only been able to use our infield about once every 3 1/2 days."

At least Centennial has an infield, even if it has been under water most of the season.

Atholton's infield was a casualty of a snowy winter. Maintenance people stripped the infield in December with the best intentions of quickly replacing it so the new one could set up by spring.

But the snowiest winter on record prevented installation of a new one. Atholton (4-0) is playing its home games at Wilde Lake's old baseball field, and will play host in its spring tournament at Glenelg Thursday.

Howard finally got a new surface after suffering many seasons with bad hops caused by a rough infield, but because of the bad weather, it didn't get a pitching mound until March 27, a week after the first scheduled game, which was postponed by rain.

The Lions (0-1) have played one game, have had four postponed and one canceled. They are not scheduled to play again until April 13. That means they will have played one game in the first 22 days of the season.

"Four years ago, we didn't step onto a field until our first [regular-season] game because of the weather, but we've never had so many postponements so early," Howard coach Matt Forsyth said. "We've only been on the field five or six times so far. Last season, we didn't have a single rainout, so I guess we were due."

The baseball team probably with the most to complain about is Wilde Lake at River Hill. The school is completing its second year at the interim site while the old Wilde Lake is rebuilt, and still it doesn't have a usable baseball field.

The Wildecats (1-1) played defending state champion Glenelg Tuesday, and lost, 11-10. It was supposed to be a home game, but was moved to Glenelg.

"Our game field hasn't been touched," first-year Wildecats coach Don Storr said. "The season has been a fire drill. We don't know from day-to-day where we'll play."

Wilde Lake defeated North Carroll, 9-5, at North Carroll, but has had its Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills games postponed to April 16 and April 30, respectively, and its Fallston and Liberty games canceled.

"We're like a bunch of caged animals stuck in the gym every day, and it's hard to control them when we do get outside," Storr said.

Ironically, Atholton has permission to use Wilde Lake's old Trumpeter Road field, which was refurbished for that purpose, while the Wildecats are stuck without a home field at River Hill.

Pub Date: 4/05/96

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