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Time is putting the squeeze on spring sports teams

This Thursday will mark the end of the first half of the Middle Border Conference spring schedule for softball and girls soccer.

Unfortunately, none of the MBC teams have been able to play any of their conference games thus far. The incredibly cold and wet spring weather is putting teams into a major bind. And it is getting to the point that many of the games that have been lost will not be made up.

Middle Border Conference Commissioner Pete Vrieze announced Monday that girls soccer will now play one round of conference games, instead of playing the usual home-home schedule.

It has also been decided that any MBC softball games that aren't played in the first round of the season will now be played as two five-inning games on the date of the second meeting between the teams involved.

A decision hasn't been made yet about whether to cut the Middle Border Conference baseball schedule in half, but a decision will have to come soon. Teams will begin the second half of their MBC schedule early next week and it is conceivable that some teams will not have played any games through the first half of the season. The decision to cut baseball back to a seven-game conference schedule is largely due to pitching. With the limits on the number of innings a pitcher can throw, trying to cram a full season's worth of games into the next month would put a considerable strain on the arms of high school pitchers.

New Richmond Athletic Director Casey Eckardt said he was hopeful that the NRHS facilities could be ready for games by early next week, but conceded that might be an optimistic guess. He said it is now looking like some of the teams will be fortunate if they can get in half the games that were on their original schedule this fall.

St. Croix Central Athletic Director Nic Been said the Dunn-St. Croix Conference athletic directors are scheduled to meet this Wednesday to decide what changes need to be made to the spring schedules.

Time has become as limiting a factor as the weather in how many games will be played this season. The WIAA has had its spring tournament schedules set for nearly a year and it would be practically impossible to push back the starts of any of the sports' tournaments. In the case of softball, there is already less than a month left in the regular season. Softball begins tournament play on Thursday, May 16. Track is next, with regionals on May 20. Golf is just behind that on May 21. Baseball begins regional tournament play on May 24 and girls soccer is the final sport to begin its playoffs, on May 30.