The University of Maine baseball team faced a dilemma this week.
The Black Bears could either help Husson College shovel a considerable amount of snow off the FieldTurf at Winkin Baseball Complex in Bangor – or take a nine-hour bus ride to Newark, N.J., to play a three-game weekend series.
UMaine will get to play close to home this weekend after all – weather permitting.
Through the generosity of Husson College and athletic director Gabby Price, coach Steve Trimper’s Bears are gearing up for a three-team round robin with New York Tech and New Jersey Tech to be played on Alfond Diamond.
UMaine and New York Tech hope to get the action started today with a 1:30 p.m. nine-inning game at Husson.
“I told the guys, would you rather shovel snow or drive to Newark?,” quipped Trimper. “They said, ‘we’ll take spoons over and shovel, if we have to.'”
Players from Husson and UMaine, along with coaches from both staffs, helped Husson facilities personnel get the snow and ice off the field. The Eagles are scheduled to play an 11 a.m. doubleheader Saturday against Castleton State (Vt.).
“Gabby is just a special guy,” Trimper said “He’s a good man and really cares about trying to help people out. I owe him something. I would say my left leg, but it isn’t worth anything right now.”
Trimper jokingly referring to his left knee, which he had surgically repaired Wednesday after injuring it while skiing last month. He was unsure Thursday whether he would be able to attend Friday’s game.
Once Husson wraps up Saturday’s seven-inning games, UMaine and New Jersey Tech will try to play starting at approximately 4 p.m. There is a chance New Jersey Tech and New York Tech might try to squeeze in a late game, if conditions are deemed playable.
“It’s going to be kind of a game-time decision,” Trimper said of what happens Saturday night and Sunday. There could be two or three games Sunday involving the three ballclubs.
“Whatever happens Saturday will dictate Sunday,” he explained. “What kind of messed us up is we’re supposed to get some rain.”
Trimper proposed the three-team weekend a year ago after learning UMaine had drawn the bye for the first weekend of America East play. Facing two different teams seemed a nice alternative to playing only one.
Scheduling a home series this early is a gamble, but things should work out if the weather doesn’t get too nasty.
Plan B for UMaine was traveling back to the New York-New Jersey area, where it had played last weekend, and spending $13,000 for transportation, lodging and meals.
“By working and shoveling snow, and thanks to Gabby and the people at Husson, we stay home and we use up a couple dozen baseballs and hire some umpires and we don’t have to deal with a bus and a hotel,” Trimper said.
UMaine’s home-opening conference series against Albany scheduled for April 11-13 also appears to be in jeopardy because of the field conditions at Mahaney Diamond, but no alternate plans have been announced as yet.
UMaine softball hits the road
The UMaine softball team also had to alter its plans for the opening weekend of the America East season.
Rather than entertain Binghamton at Kessock Field in Orono, coach Stacey Sullivan’s Bears will make the nine-hour trek to Vestal, N.Y., to play their three-game series.
UMaine and Binghamton will play a Saturday doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. and finish with a single game Sunday at 11 a.m. The Bears will be the home team, batting last, in all three contests.