It’s been a frustrating season so far for high school baseball and softball teams with diamonds across the state snow and ice covered.
The Minnesota State High School League is trying to help by modifying rules to help teams squeeze more games into a weather-shortened season.
“We’re two weeks into the season and very few if any games have been played,” said executive director Erich Martens. “Everyone can recognize the weather that we’re having is unseasonably cool and still a significant amount of snow and ice that remains around the state and it seems to be an issue from border to border.”
The temporary rule change approved Wednesday would allow teams the option of playing two five-inning games in a day instead of a single seven-inning game.
“And obviously if they are going to play a team twice in a spring, if they can do that in one night as opposed to two, that’s a big benefit in them getting the games in, so we think that this is a good way for them to be able to do things creatively within their schools and conferences,” said Martens.
He said some baseball and softball fields need a week or two of warm, dry weather before they will be usable.
The same rule modification was needed in 2013 and 2014 because of cold snowy April weather, said Martens.
The spring track and field season is also affected by the weather, but Martens said the sport allows more flexibility because there are a number of indoor tracks where running events can be held, but some events such as discuss throw have had to be canceled.
Martens said photos from a recent track meet showed snowdrifts piled along the track as runners raced by,
“It’s kind of what we do in Minnesota, we try to figure it out and make it work the best we can within the rules.”