It is not just a matter of fields being playable but fields being visible.

“Our fields are still white,” said Don King, the co-curricular activities director at Poland.

King’s baseball and softball teams were supposed host Freeport Thursday to open the regular season. Instead, an extra dose of snow has left players, coaches and administrators wondering when the season will actually begin?

“I called Craig Sickles,” said King of the Freeport athletic director. “I said, ‘Let’s not even put a date on (the makeup).’ It might well not be until next week.”

With the spring season scheduled to be underway, there’s been more snow on the ground and colder temperatures than on Christmas Day.

At Oak Hill, softball coach Julie Boucher said there is still a foot of snow on the field. That was before Thursday’s coating. They’re scheduled to host Lincoln Academy on Wednesday.

“So I’m thinking about getting my father’s snowblower and coming up with him,” said Boucher. “I think Sunday I might come up here and try to get some strips on the field. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to open it up. Otherwise, it’s not going to melt.”

Most conferences begin play next week. For many, the first real pitch they see could be in the opener.

“I think it’s going to effect us big time,” said Angie Russell, a senior pitcher and shortstop at Oak Hill. “We haven’t played on the field, yet.”

The Oak Hill tennis and lacrosse teams were outdoors Wednesday. Boucher and her team were in the gym where they’ve been for weeks.

“We’re normally outside by now shoveling things off and putting kitty litter on the field,” said Audrey Grass, a senior second baseman.

It was a similar scenario at Edward Little. The lacrosse, tennis and track teams were outside, but the baseball team was stuck inside.

“You have to discipline yourself to not come in and be depressed,” said EL coach Scott Annear. “It’s so unpredictable. You’re at the mercy of the weather. When you do get good weather, you’re field is not ready. Then you have to get the snow off and let it dry off. Then you have to hope there’s no bad weather in-between.”

Boucher has worked on conditioning and has had stations that offer various challenges. She tries to mix up practices and offer a few well-placed days off.

“We’re in a lot better running condition,” said Grass laughing.

“It’s hard doing the same drills over and over in here,” added Russell. “It gets old sometimes.”

Monmouth joined EL in practice this week, offering some variety and different looks.

“It makes a big difference,” said EL senior second baseman Kevin Smith. “You see what other pitchers have. You’re not seeing the same stuff every time.”

With so many sports trying to split time indoors, Annear says it is difficult to get things done and truly prepare for the real thing.

“You need this time of year to not only work on the physical game but the mental aspect of the game,” said Annear. “If you don’t have a game to prepare for, it gets you out of that mode. It doesn’t matter as far as hitting and fielding, but they do add up. You have to establish that routine and not having that, it hurts.”

Oak Hill hopes to join a team in the dome complex in Topsham this weekend. Poland baseball will join Bucksport at the University of Maine’s indoor facilities. Other teams have opted to use Frozen Ropes in Portland.

“It’s going to be different (on opening day) Wednesday because we don’t get the hops until we get outside, and the pitchers haven’t been on a real mound,” said Smith, whose team opens at Leavitt. “So it will be an adjustment when we get outside.”

Boucher’s club did play in a tournament in North Reading, Mass., nearly two weeks ago. It was the last time the Raiders were on a real field.

“It felt good,” said senior outfielder Audrey Pelletier. “We were like, ‘Whoa, we’re outside.'”

Fred Royer’s Lewiston softball team had a similar opportunity last weekend, playing at Bishop Fenwick in Salem, Mass., for the fifth straight year.

“We go down Friday night to do some team bonding and then we play four mini-games on Saturday,” said Royer, who opens at Oxford Hills on Wednesday. “It was cold, but we were able to get our licks in.”

Royer has since canceled four straight scrimmages and nixed a tournament this weekend that included teams like St. Dom’s, Jay and Leavitt.

“We had 10 teams coming Saturday, and that’s canceled also,” said Royer. “Right now, we’ve missed some games, but it’s not a big impact, yet. If this goes on into next week, then we start feeling a crunch, and we might be hurt by a lack of playing, but it’s not critical yet.”


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