Weather woes postpone start of spring season

Winter is not about to relinquish its hold on us even though the first day of spring has come and gone. Snow, rain and cold temperatures all played their role in canceling the start of the spring high school sports season.

Very few events are cancelled due to inclement weather in the fall season. In the winter season, games are only postponed when school is cancelled. In the spring we are at Mother Nature’s mercy and all we can do is leave nose prints on the backdoor window.

All Naugatuck and Woodland sporting events were cancelled Saturday and that patterned followed right through Monday and Tuesday of this week. All the momentum that the tennis, baseball, softball and track teams had built in the preseason came to a screeching halt due to the weather.

“We had a couple of real good scrimmages and started to gain some momentum,” Woodland head baseball coach Mike Kingsley said. “But the good part about this scenario is we are all in the same boat.”

Naugatuck Valley League coaches may stay in that boat longer than they’d like as snow lingers and the forecast calls for more raw rainy days late this week and into next week. Teams may be playing in a boat after all.

In 2014, the beginning of the spring season was curtailed due to weather and by April 17 of that year the baseball and softball teams had only played four games. When you are trying to fit a 20-game schedule into a window of 40 school days it doesn’t allow much room for deviation. That scenario resulted in one team starting the month of May having to play nine games over a period of 12 days.

“It’s always a concern,” said Naugatuck interim Athletic Director Brian Mariano about dealing with the weather. “This is my first full season I’m going into and already it’s been an organizational trial.

“You need to make a lot of decisions that are going to affect not only the players but the coaches and I try and keep them in the loop as much as possible. It’s really not that uncommon for this type of thing to happen at this time of year and it all comes down to being organized.”

The logjam of games will certainly test baseball and softball pitching staffs. The tennis teams may lose a little bit of the momentum they had going into the season, and the track teams may need to start out slow without the ample time to gear up for the season. The golf teams start the season later than their peers, but the weather certainly doesn’t help golfers work on their short game.

“It really doesn’t affect a softball pitcher as much in the summer when they are going back-to-back games,” Naugatuck head softball coach Kevin Wesche said. “But it matters a whole lot in the spring when the temperatures are still a bit chilly. You don’t want to put too much on your pitchers in this type of weather and the momentum your bats gained through facing live pitching is lost when you start losing days of practice.”

It’s not an ideal situation no matter how you look at it but it’s to be expected in New England.