Bay Port senior Katie Conard and the rest of the softball, and baseball teams are anxiously awaiting to get outside on area diamonds (Rich Palzewic file photo).
SUAMICO – Things are looking up with the weather, but area high-school teams and athletic directors had to scramble and reschedule dozens of events in April.
Playing fields were just getting to the point of being playable before snowstorm Evelyn dumped 24 inches of snow, rendering those playing surfaces unusable for a few weeks.
“It’s definitely been a challenge,” said Bay Port activities director Brian Matz. “We’ve had to reschedule basically almost all of April. The teams will be busy in May, that’s for sure. Up through April 20, the only game we had here at the school outdoors was the girls’ soccer game the day before the snowstorm hit (April 12). We also had a few indoor track meets, but everything else was either rescheduled or cancelled.”
Since then, the Pirates have hosted a track meet, a tennis match and a lacrosse game at the school.
The Fox River Classic Conference ADs and conference commissioner met early last week to come up with a solution going forward, with baseball and softball being the most affected.
Boys’ tennis, the track and field teams, girls’ soccer, boys’ golf and lacrosse will have to work it out between schools to reschedule any games/meets they can that were lost.
In most situations with invitationals, those can’t be made up because of the logistics of having up to 15 teams attending.
“It was decided that all 18 FRCC softball games will be played as part of doubleheaders, while the baseball conference season will be cut in half to nine,” Matz said. “Obviously the two sports are a little different with pitching – playing 18 baseball games in essentially three weeks for high-school kids would be difficult on any pitching staff. All doubleheader games will be seven innings each.”
Matz noted that the baseball teams can agree to play other games with conference rivals, but only the first game of any doubleheader will count towards the standings. A few teams were able to play FRCC contests in the Sheboygan area earlier this season, but all those games will not count, either.
The conference baseball season will start May 1, so by chance if any games could be played before then, they would also not count in the standings. Bay Port is scheduled to play in Sheboygan North Thursday, April 26.
The second round of conference softball games were also scheduled to begin April 26, but the ADs thought that time frame was a little too aggressive to begin play. That’s where the Sheboygan High Schools stepped in.
“One thing we’ve learned in this whole ordeal is that all the schools are more than willing to help out when they can,” Matz noted. “Since we didn’t feel we could realistically play on the 26th, Sheboygan North and South graciously offered to have all the softball teams come down April 27 or 28 to play on their fields. We wanted to be done with conference play by (Thursday) May 17 to have some days for make-up.”
The facilities crew at the high school was busy removing snow from the track last week, but the white stuff couldn’t be removed from the turf field for various reasons.
“We just don’t have the right equipment here to safely remove the snow from the turf without possibly damaging it,” Matz added. “We don’t want kids out there shoveling because it’s possible a corner of the shovel could catch some of the turf and tear it. The brush that we use to remove snow from the sidewalks is too aggressive for the turf – we don’t want the rubber pellets from the turf flying all over. We just had to let Mother Nature do the job. Hopefully May will be a really good month weather-wise and we can play at least what we have scheduled.”