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After a Monday morning downpour, the junior varsity baseball field at Central Valley High School is puddled around home plate and along the base paths. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Mt. Spokane baseball, without playing at home, boasts perfect record in rainy spring

There’s no spring sports coach who has more room to complain than Mt. Spokane baseball coach Alex Schuerman.

Mt. Spokane has yet to play a home game, yet the Wildcats (14-0 overall) are 12-0 with a 2 1/2-game lead in the Greater Spokane League.

After swapping home sites with Shadle Park last Friday, Mt. Spokane was poised to give it a try Tuesday at home with a return game with the Highlanders.

Mother Nature had something to say about that. Too much rain Monday rendered the field still unplayable, so the game was moved back to Shadle and Mt. Spokane won 5-4 in nine innings.

A few things have worked against Mt. Spokane this spring. First, snow remained longer than usual on its field. Second, in an attempt to remove said snow with tractors, some ruts were left on the field. And third, there haven’t been enough stretches of days without moisture. The rain has yet to relent.

“It’s been the perfect storm,” Mt. Spokane athletic director Paul Kautzman said.

The GSL schedule calls for playing each opponent twice on consecutive dates, with the teams swapping home and away.

In some cases, Mt. Spokane has played twice on an opponent’s field just to get games played. The Wildcats played two “home” games at Whitworth when its field was available.

Schuerman and volunteers tore up some turf that wasn’t drying out and replaced it with about six pallets of sod in the last week.

“Basically, from one foul line to the other in places the outfield is mucky and damaged from winter,” Kautzman said. “The snow came earlier than we thought and stayed longer than we wanted.”

Kautzman has been A.D. since 2008. It’s been the worst winter since he took over.

“We haven’t had anything close to this magnitude,” Kautzman said. … “We’d get one good day and then it would rain and set us back. We could never get rid of the moisture in our grass.”

If weather cooperates, Mt. Spokane will play three times at home before the regular season concludes.

Schuerman is proud of how his team has responded to the adversity.

“They’ve handled it admirably,” Schuerman said. “They’ve been road warriors. They’ve done everything we asked and not let adversity affect their game.”

It’s been more than a baseball issue. Mt. Spokane had difficulty getting on its softball field.

It has also affected other sports, including the sport that seems to play in any weather – soccer.

Central Valley postponed a boys soccer match last week because of poor field conditions. The match with Lewis and Clark was rescheduled for Monday at Albi Stadium, where the Bears topped the Tigers 2-1 in a shootout.

Whenever GSL teams could get on better surfaces like Albi or Spokane Falls Community College, they have done so to get games played.

As of last week, the Gonzaga Prep tennis teams had played just three of seven scheduled matches, A.D. Paul Manfred said.

Manfred said sports teams below varsity have received the short end of the stick because varsity makeup dates must take priority.

The weather has been an issue that crosses state lines. Usually, North Idaho schools struggle with poor weather more than eastern Washington schools. It’s been equally aggravating this spring.

The Lake City baseball team, the defending 5A State champs, finally played the first game on its field last Thursday, and probably shouldn’t have. The base paths and infield were apparently a bog.

“It’s the worst spring that I can remember,” Lake City track coach Kelly Reed said. “Every day seems like it’s been gross.”

Liberty A.D. Blaze Burnham, the coordinator over Northeast 2B baseball, said small schools have struggled getting softball and baseball games played.

Burnham said Liberty’s fields have held up well.

“We haven’t had to cancel any games at Liberty,” Burnham said.

Burnham said the league has a policy to only reschedule if moving the games to the other school or another available field aren’t options.

Rescheduling is the last resort, Burnham said, because spring dates are limited and start to back up if games aren’t play.

“We have to have all league games played by April 29 because district begins May 2,” Burnham said.