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March 26. 2013 7:46PM

For NHIAA spring athletes, it's snow big deal


Bedford High School Boy's Head Tennis Coach Shawna Morley during practice in Bedford on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
The snow is slowly melting and that's a good sign for NHIAA Executive Director Patrick Corbin, who is optimistic the spring sports season will start on time.

"I'm far from panic mode right now," said Corbin. "If we get another snowstorm between now and the start of our spring season, it will be a different story."

Girls' and boys' tennis is scheduled to start next Monday, April 1. Baseball. softball, boys' and girls' lacrosse and boys' spring volleyball will begin April 8. The co-ed unified volleyball league will start April 18.

"Last year was way different than this year," said Hopkinton baseball coach Dave Chase, who led the Hawks to the Division III state title last season. "Last year, we had no snow on the ground and temperatures were well above normal. We were outside practicing on the first day. This year, I'm trying to replace six starters and now we're mostly in the gym. I did get my team outdoors for a two-hour session at New England College. But it's pretty tough to see what people can do in the gym. You obviously can't hit fly balls."

First-year Manchester Memorial softball coach Erin Reilly said her team has also been practicing in the school's gym, but may get to use the McDonough-Chabot football turf field later this week or next week.

"If the snow melts off the turf, we'll be able to use it,' Reilly said. "We obviously want to use our field (St. Anthony Field) but I rode by it and there's still snow on it. But that's New England. One day it could be snowing and the next day the temperature could be in the 70's. You prepare for it."

Bedford boys' tennis coach Shawna Morley said her three-time defending state championship team was able to practice outdoors Tuesday for the first time this season.

"We've had limited indoor court time at the YMCA Allard Center in Goffstown," said Morley. "We've spent more time in a classroom at our high school going over rules and strategy. But's it's been a very challenging time especially this season when we're moving up and preparing to play in Division I." Bedford won the Class I title in 2010 and the last two Division II state titles.

In boys' lacrosse, Pinkerton Academy of Derry head coach Brian O'Reilly said his team has been confined to indoors.

"Absolutely, indoors every day since practice started," said O'Reilly. "We don't have a turf field or access to one. It's not ideal, but you've got to do what you have to do."?O'Reilly said his team is able to do passing and catching and walk through plays in the gym.

"But you can't play the game indoors the way it needs to be played," said O'Reilly. "Assuming we don't get another snowstorm, I anticipate we will be outdoors next Monday or Tuesday. I don't like being in the gym. It's a tough situation."

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