Local fields not ready for spring

Souhegan High School athletic director Dick Miller turned into the school driveway one day last week and just shook his head.

“To be honest, driving in the (school) driveway, I’ve never seen the snow as high as it’s been on the front field,” he said. “I’m not liking Mother Nature right now.”

A lot of athletic directors aren’t. Local schools all say the spring outdoor sports season faces likely delays. Tennis is supposed to start the week of Apr. 6 and baseball, softball and lacrosse generally the week of Apr. 13.

“I think the key for us is how flexible we are with busses, officials, and schools that have facilities available for those who don’t,” Milford athletic director Marc Maurais said. “We have to be very patient and be able to do things on the fly. You may be expecting a game to be at one place and it ends up being at another place instead.

“We have to be very patient and be able to do things on the fly.”

Souhegan’s tennis is slated to open on April 8, but Miller doubts that will happen, and it’s likely baseball, perhaps softball, and lacrosse season openers will be delayed as well.

“I’m going to be hopeful and say the weather is going to actually loosen up,” he said. “We did shovel some snow off the softball field, we have the excess space. But the thing is, you may be able to get snow off, but it’s a question of where you put it. … And that only really gains you a few days.

“It’s not just the snow melting, it’s the frost underneath that needs to melt so the water can drain.”

Both Milford and Souhegan are limited in what they can do for certain sports. Souhegan uses Jasper Valley for tennis but really can’t do much to those courts. “We can’t touch them, of course,” Miller said.

And Milford plays its baseball and softball on the town fields at Keyes Park.

“We have to wait for those to be cleared by the town,” Maurais said. “We’re probably going to be a week to two weeks behind. But we’re making progress.”

Then there’s the issue of practices, which began this week. Miller met with his coaches to go over practice times in the gym, splitting everything up among five sports. And if you think it’s crowded this week, next week boys volleyball begins its practice schedule.

Maurais has booked indoor tennis time at Hampshire Hills, but it’s hardly convenient – try 5:30 to 7 a.m.

That’s in the short term. What are the long term ramifications? With reschedulings, it may require teams to play four games in a week once the seasons get underway.

Miller hopes the schedule doesn’t get too crowded.

“Last year I think Hanover had to play seven games in five days,” he said. “I hope we can avoid that.”