The University of Maine baseball team spent several hours Saturday on their home field, Mahaney Diamond in Orono.
Rather than playing their originally scheduled games against Bryant University, the Black Bears were wielding shovels trying to clear some 14 inches of snow off the FieldTurf facility.
“We shoveled until about 1 (p.m.), then we decided we couldn’t do it,” said UMaine head coach Steve Trimper.
The players and coaches joined Eric Stoup and members of UMaine’s athletic facilities staff in attempting to clear the field with shovels and snowblowers.
“There wasn’t one guy on our team that sat there on a shovel,” said Trimper, who explained everyone showed up at 8 a.m. and worked into the afternoon. “They were motivated, like me, to get this field cleared.”
UMaine’s efforts were featured Sunday morning on a brief television segment on The Weather Channel. The video was shot Saturday by UMaine Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Laura Reed.
The hope was to salvage Sunday’s doubleheader, but there was too much heavy snow to be removed from the facility. UMaine wound up canceling the series with Bryant.
There was a possibility of squeezing in a game Sunday by traveling to the Bulldogs’ home field in Smithfield, R.I., but the effort expended Saturday and the thought of heading on the road again quickly ended any such thoughts.
“That wouldn’t have been the smartest thing,” said Trimper, whose team had been on the road each of the previous six weekends. “We got to sleep in our own beds.”
UMaine players kept the mood light during the snow removal effort. They built some snow structures, engaged in a dance contest to music playing over the public address system and threw some snowballs.
“We made it fun,” said Trimper, who explained Stoup’s crew had most of the snow off the playing surface as of Sunday evening.
Mahaney Diamond is expected to be ready in time for Tuesday’s nonleague contest against Division III Colby College of Waterville. However, a rainy forecast may result in that game being postponed until Wednesday.
The Bears have begun a key week of preparation, since they open the America East portion of their schedule with a four-game series at Stony Brook University on Long Island next Saturday and Sunday.
“The weekend was being built up as the end of our nonconference season,” Trimper said. “We kind of missed out on that closure.”
Though UMaine’s pitchers will be rested, the Bears had hoped to build some momentum after winning three of four games the previous weekend at the Fairleigh Dickinson Baseball Classic.
“We want to stay in a rhythm with our hitters and our pitchers,” Trimper said.
Stony Brook (16-6), the defending champion and preseason favorite to win America East, took three of four from New York Institute of Technology over the weekend.
Husson University in Bangor also was a victim of Friday’s snowstorm. Coach Jason Harvey’s team was forced to postpone two weekend doubleheaders against North Eastern Athletic Conference rival Castleton State.
The teams plan to play a doubleheader Monday beginning at noon at the John Winkin Baseball Complex.