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April 03. 2014 10:49PM

Hope springs eternal for high school sports starts


The sons of Berlin High School athletics director Craig Melanson, Griffin and Kolin, stand atop a snow pile near the third-base dugout at Berlin's Memorial Field in Berlin earlier this week. The Marauders are scheduled to begin NHIAA play at home April 18. (COURTESY)


Alanis Pope, a senior who won the winter sports "Crusader" for indoor track, runs the hurdles as most of the spring sports teams use the track and football filed at Memorial High School in Manchester on Thursday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

The spring season message from the executive director of the NHIAA to his member schools is a simple directive.

"Do the best you can do. Get in as many games as you can," said Pat Corbin. "Right now I'm optimistic the southern tier schools will be able to start their seasons on time. Unfortunately that won't be the case in the northern tier, particularly Plymouth and points north. It will still be weeks before the snow is off their fields."

William Makarawicz, of Hudson, who assigns baseball games for the New Hampshire Baseball Umpires Association (NHBUA) and softball games for the New Hampshire Softball Umpires Associated (NHSUA), said he's getting positive feedback from southern schools about starting their seasons on time.

"Alvirne and Windham called in to say they were cancelling their scrimmage games this week because of field conditions, and we have some middle schools in the Derry area who might have to postpone games," said Makarawicz. "Other than that, it looks good for the rest of the southern schools. Our saving grace is we're starting a week later than usual. We usually start all the sports around the first week of April, but most of them will start on April 14. That's good news coming off a long, snowy winter."

Corbin said he would love to take credit for the April 14 start. "The spring schedules were set last year," he said. "Once every five years because of the calendar year, we start the second week in April. Our spring season usually lasts for seven weeks, so we have to hope the weather cooperates."

Makarawicz said if schools still have snow, or if their fields are still wet, they have another option.

"They can see if their opponents' field is ready and still play that game on the scheduled date," said Makarawicz. "The idea is to do anything you can to play that game."

In Manchester, public schools athletics director Chris Donovan said no grass field in the city is ready for play.

"It's a good thing the season doesn't start this week or next week for that matter," said Donovan. "We still need to dry out all our grassy fields. Even if we do get some light showers this weekend and next week, I'm optimistic our grass fields will be ready by April 14. If we get hit with a some heavy rain storms, it could delay the start."

Donovan said the parks and recreation department will be working on Gill Stadium next week.

"They'll be working on the pitcher's mound and infield next week," said Donovan. "The clay there needs to dry before any work can be done."

Donovan said Wednesday city crews were working to repair the tennis posts at Manchester Memorial and Manchester West. "The ice and snow during the winter caused some cracks and even bent the posts," said Donovan. "By Monday. Livingston (Park, where Manchester Central tennis teams play) and West should be ready for play. I'm hearing that five of the six courts at Memorial will be fit for play by Monday."


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