Weather causes problems early in spring sports season


Jesse Carpenter was working up a sweat -- and soaking up the sun -- on the Mount Everett baseball field in a t-shirt on Monday.

A couple hours later the same field was caught in a swirling mix of rain, hail and snow.

Weather in the Berkshires can be unpredictable, and so far that's meant some headaches for coaches, players and athletic directors. Carpenter said he would have called off Monday's softball and baseball games with McCann Tech in Sheffield if he knew how nasty the weather would be by first pitch.

"At 1, I'm thinking it's all coming together. It's beautiful," Carpenter said. "Then it got wacky. ... I'm losing my mind. It's so frustrating. The last thing you want to do is make a team go on a bus and have the game canceled. The spring is so uncertain."

But at least the Eagles and Hornets got in some games. So far, those are the only contests completed this spring, with postponements coming fast and furious. Some teams, like the Pittsfield boys lacrosse team, can't even get on their waterlogged fields. Instead, coach Scott Aitken's bunch has been relegated to cramped indoor workouts this week.

"We can do a little scrimmaging," Aitken said. "My assistant and I were talking, it's hard to get a read on kids. It's so tight. It's not like a real game."

Back in the south end of the county, Monument Mountain faced an early softball postponement on Tuesday. Athletic Director Paul Gibbons wasn't worried, though. He's been through many a spring season and said there was plenty of time for make-ups.

Gibbons postponed the Spartans' opener with Pittsfield because of temperatures that dipped into the 30s and gusty winds. It wasn't that way a year ago when summer-like temperatures meant all spring sports were well under way by now.

"This is a normal spring," he said. "Last year was an abnormal spring. This is something we go through every year."

That doesn't make the weather any less frustrating. Gary Campbell, Jr., who is co-athletic director at Wahconah Regional High School, said the Warriors still have snow on their fields in places. The ground that isn't frozen is extremely wet.

Campbell said he's trying to juggle make-up games and not put his teams "in peril" by setting up games on consecutive days. The more time goes by, the tougher that will be.

"I feel bad for the kids," Campbell said. "Kids want to get outside and play. Unfortunately it's been tough sledding. ... Mother Nature still thinks it's February."

Wahconah is expected to get its baseball season under way today on the road at Southwick. The Warriors stay in the Pioneer Valley for a game at Northampton on Saturday. That part of the region seems to be in better shape than Berkshire County, so the season can at least get started.

Temperatures are expected to be more seasonable starting Thursday. That's when the county's ADs are scheduled to meet, with plenty of schedule changes to sort out.

"It's good for our [baseball] team to get them out and playing," Campbell said. "After that, who knows?"


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