As the result of a cooperative effort between the University of Maine and Husson College baseball programs and the respective field maintenance personnel, there will be college baseball this weekend at the John Winkin Complex on the Husson campus in Bangor.
Players and coaches from both teams have been working on the snow-covered outfield according to Husson athletic director Gabby Price.
So the field should be ready by Friday, he said.
Husson and Maine will both play there this weekend.
Husson will have a home-opening 11 a.m. doubleheader against Castleton State (Vt.) on Saturday at 11 a.m. The doubleheader had been originally scheduled to be played in Vermont, but Castleton State officials couldn’t find a useable field.
The Castleton State twinbill will be Husson’s North Atlantic Conference openers.
Maine will play both New York Tech and New Jersey Tech and those two schools will also play each other. However, the exact schedule has yet to be determined.
“It’s unique to have two schools cooperate like this. Maine has been very gracious,” said Price. “Maine has been willing to help [with the field maintenance] and we’ve been willing to let them.”
The Winkin Complex has an artificial FieldTurf surface which can absorb much more moisture than a regular grass field and requires very little maintenance.
The University of Maine’s Mahaney Diamond has grass, although it is expected to be transformed into an artificial surface facility for next season. FieldTurf will be the likely surface.
Price said people working on the field have used shovels, snow blowers and a front end sweeper to try to remove the snow and the ice from the outfield.
“There was a lot of snow cover and there was ice underneath it,” explained Price, who added that the cold overnight temperatures hurt the process.
He said for the first time he can remember, there was standing water on the field, and added the mound and the home plate areas were the worst he had ever seen them as the result of the unusually severe winter.
Those areas and the infield are clear now.
Once the snow and ice are removed from the surface, the sun and warmer temperatures will ensure the field remains playable unless there is a substantial storm.
“If it snows, it should leave quicker,” said Price.
Husson and Maine aren’t the only colleges interested in playing at the Winkin Complex.
“I’ve had four other colleges call me over the past two days,” said Price.
Husson’s baseball team will visit Salem State College today at 3 and the Eagles are still scheduled to travel to Plattsburgh State (N.Y.) for a pair on Sunday.
The Husson College softball team will play its home openers this weekend.
The Husson women will host Johnson State on Saturday at 2:30 and Castleton State on Sunday at noon. Both will be doubleheaders.
The softball field has grass but it could be playable, according to Price.
If not, they will play on the Boucher Field which is used for soccer. It also has FieldTurf.
Tortorella named Coach of Year
Colby College hockey coach Jim Tortorella has been named the New England Writers Association’s ECAC East/New England Small College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and four of his players were also honored.
Forwards T.J. Kelley and Josh Reber, defenseman Arthur Fritch and goalie Cody McKinney were chosen to the ECAC East/NESCAC team along with Bowdoin College senior defenseman Mike Westerman.
Kelley, Reber and Fritch are seniors while McKinney is a freshman.
Former University of Maine goalie Tortorella led the Mules to a 15-9-1 record and the top seed in the NESCAC Tournament for the first time.
He was also named the NESCAC Coach of the Year.
Tortorella reached a milestone as he notched his 200th career win in his 13th season. He is now 201-103-24.
Kelley, a first team All-American and the NESCAC Player of the Year, led the conference in scoring with 19 goals and 24 assists in 25 games.
Fritch was also an All-American and All-NESCAC first-teamer after notching nine goals and 18 assists in 24 games. He is the career scoring leader among Colby defenseman with 116 points.
Reber, an All-NESCAC choice, had 10 & 25 in 20 games and finished second in the conference in scoring behind Kelley.
McKinney allowed just 18 goals in Colby’s last 12 games and finished with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.
Westerman had 14 & 17 in 24 games for the Polar Bears to become the first defenseman to lead Bowdoin in scoring since the 1983-84 season. He was a second team All-American and All-NESCAC choice.