The Maine Principals’ Association’s decision Monday to extend the regular season for high school baseball and softball by two days was a welcome ray of light in what has been an unusually soggy spring – even by Maine’s standards.

“It’s been unbelievable. I would say in my 21, 22 years, it may be the second worst season weather-wise I’ve experienced,” said Marshwood High Athletic Director Rich Buzzell.

The Portland area experienced its wettest and snowiest April since 2007, and the first week of May brought minimal relief and more cancellations.

“Every spring, you go through this for a week or two, usually in the middle of the season,” said Windham’s Rich Drummond, in his 19th year as an athletic director. “But I can’t remember a spring like this where it’s been nonstop from the start of the season.”

Originally, the last playable date for regular-season baseball and softball was Wednesday, May 31, and schools needed permission from the sport committee chair to schedule makeup games in the final three days. Now, schools are free to schedule makeup games, without permission, through June 2.

The baseball and softball playoffs are still scheduled to start June 6, with state championship games on June 17.

The MPA has seldom backed up the regular-season calendar this early, said Mike Burnham, the MPA’s assistant executive director and the liaison to the baseball committee.

“It’s just based on the late start that schools had because of the slow snow melt, we’ve had wet conditions now for the better part of a week and the forecast of another week of wet weather,” Burnham said.

Some games were postponed Monday, with rain heaviest in the already saturated central Maine region. The National Weather Service office in Gray predicts Tuesday will be dry, but there’s a chance of showers Wednesday and Thursday.

“I wouldn’t say I’m in panic mode yet, but I guess we’ll see what this week brings,” said South Portland Athletic Director Todd Livingston. “At least we now know we have a couple extra dates to use if needed.”

Several baseball and softball teams across the state have played three or fewer games. In southern Maine, most schools schedule 16-game seasons in softball and baseball.

At Old Orchard Beach, the softball team has played twice, the baseball team three times.

“It’s not just the makeup games, it’s everything,” said OOB Athletic Director Dean Plante. “We have a pretty decent baseball team this year and it’s a struggle just trying to get into the flow and not seeing live pitching every day. And, it’s tough to stay motivated when you’re still practicing indoors on May 8.”

Tennis is under an even tighter time frame, with May 25 as the last countable day. Team playoff matches start May 30.

Lacrosse has a 12-game regular season and access to more artificial surface fields, making rainouts less of a scheduling concern.

With each rainout, though, transportation becomes a complicating issue. When fields and transportation become limiting factors, sub-varsity and middle school teams are often hardest hit, Drummond said, because varsity events take precedence.

“This spring, we’re low on drivers,” Drummond said, echoing sentiments expressed by Buzzell and Livingston. “And we have high school events and two middle schools. You get bad weather and it creates a logjam. Just because you have a clear day doesn’t necessarily mean you can get a team there.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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