Scheduling Maine high school sports north of Portland and away from the coast before the end of April school vacation is a look-silly-if-you-don’t, jinxed-if-you-do proposition.

Spring games and meets were set to begin Thursday and Friday for many teams. Those dates are postponed or moved for some and a laughable suggestion to others.

“Our baseball field is bare but wet,” Spruce Mountain athletic director Lee Hixon said. “Softball still has a few inches of snow. We had four-wheelers out yesterday removing snow. That won’t be ready for a while. We need warm rain to help out.”

Spruce Mountain’s baseball and softball teams missed out on three scrimmages apiece. The Phoenix were scheduled to host Dirigo in their Mountain Valley Conference opener on Thursday. Those games now have been moved to Saturday, April 26 at noon, a proposition that sounds iffy at best.

In case you’re wondering, there was no chance of playing the games in Dixfield.

Dirigo battles the same meteorological, latitudinal and longitudinal challenges. Baseball coach Ryan Palmer had community members working with plows and players getting in a non-traditional workout with shovels in order to free Harlow Park from three feet of lingering snow.


“That saved us about a week,” Palmer said. “Right now our field is clear of snow. It is still very wet. We should be able to get on the outfield grass at the end of the week, and be on our field totally by the beginning of next week.”

How to account for spring’s unpredictable arrival is a perennial quandary for local coaches and administrators.

In 2012 and 2013, 70-degree temperatures in late March and early April had teams outdoors early, all but twiddling their thumbs and waiting for games to start. After weighing that trend along with a vacation week that comes later than usual, most schools aimed to play a game or two during the recess this spring.

And this is the thanks they get. With snow covering most of the region until the past week and still stubbornly blanketing parts of Oxford and Franklin counties, coaches and athletic directors have been scrambling to find alternate dates and sites.

“The Gouin Complex is free of snow but not playable. Boys’ lacrosse at home with Cony (Thursday) will not be played,” Oxford Hills AD Jeff Benson said. “We’re looking at Kents Hill if possible. Baseball and softball open on the 23rd, and we have contacted Lewiston in case the Gouin Complex is not ready.”

What schools require for changes in the weather in order to get all their teams up and running is a matter of location, location and location. And not merely where you find each school on the map, but also where the field is located on campus.


Leavitt’s baseball diamond is situated below Libby Field, where the football team plays in the fall, which itself sits at a downhill slope from the soccer and track and field complex. Softball is adjacent to the gridiron. Guess where all the melt water ends up?

“If you were to go walk out on them right now you would sink to the top of your shoes in mud and water,” Leavitt AD Ryan Holmes said. “I suspect we will be until the end of vacation before we can get on the fields to play. Our home opener is April 28. We should be OK by then.”

Closer to the Twin Cities, where lawns are mostly free of the white stuff and homeowners can at least think about doing yard work, conditions are a mixed bag.

Oak Hill and St. Dom’s boys’ lacrosse have moved their season-opener to the old turf field at Bates College, starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Tracks and tennis courts, by nature, have been the first clear and dry surfaces. Those teams should be ready to go, on time, when the season opens Thursday and Friday.

And Poland athletic director Don King actually had home baseball and softball games to oversee Monday. The Knights hosted exhibitions with Oak Hill.


Lewiston and Edward Little ADs Jason Fuller and Dan Deshaies reported that all their teams were outside Monday, but uncertainties remain.

“Auburn Suburban is now open for business. We must use sneakers not spikes on it, but at least we can get out and see live pitching,” Deshaies said of the Red Eddies. “Pettingill Park is like the quarry in the Flintstones, so not sure when baseball can start there.”

Of course, many of these assessments were made before the rain and wind that stormed through the area Tuesday.

“Any rain is going to cause some problems, but nothing that we can’t handle,” Fuller said. “We should be ready to play all of our season openers.”

Weather issues are especially complex at Mt. Blue.

As a northwesterly outpost, the Cougars get outside later than most KVAC opponents every spring. This year, that schedule is delayed by a happy problem. Mt. Blue has a brand-new, on-campus athletic facility that debuted in the fall.


“We were told that we could not remove snow from the new tennis courts or the new track because it would void the warranties of the new surfaces,” Mt. Blue AD Todd Demmons said. “So we are waiting on Mother Nature’s good tidings and warm weather. We are hoping that after this week and weekend our fields will be almost ready for practices, just in time for games to start.”

Mt. Blue was planning a farewell season of baseball and softball at Hippach Field in downtown Farmington, anyway. The Cougars’ lacrosse team will use the Prescott Field facility at the University of Maine at Farmington, hoping its on-site field will be ready to host a game soon if it recovers well from winter’s assault.

The only Mt. Blue teams currently using a facility designed for the sport are boys’ and girls’ tennis. Demmons thanked Wilton Rec, which furnished Kineowatha Park for that purpose.

Being versatile, flexible and mobile is pretty much the rule for all area students and the adults that oversee their games, for now.

Winthrop baseball and softball won’t be outside until next week, at the earliest.

“We are using any dry piece of land we can find — parking lots, exposed fields and the gym — to prepare for the season,” said Ramblers AD Chris Moreau. “We are lucky. Our first home contest is not until after April break.”

Other schools are seeking that good fortune from alternate sources.

“Keep your fingers crossed for us,” Holmes said.

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