It may come as a surprise to many, based on the number of Midcoast events played thus far, that the high school spring sports seasons are more than three weeks old.

However, numerous games and matches have been postponed thus far in the early stages of the spring campaigns, which have become a nightmare for school athletic directors.

After a winter in which there was less snow than usual and an overall dry and warm early spring, lately, Mother Nature has turned nasty. And that has created problems for those who schedule events.

The Maine Principals’ Association high school baseball and softball seasons, along with lacrosse, began April 12, with the last countable scheduled date for regular-season play set for Wednesday, May 30. The high school tennis season also began April 12 and concludes Wednesday, May 23. Wet weather also has hampered the outdoor track-and-field seasons.

In a nutshell, teams have but a few precious weeks to fit in all allotted games, matches and meets — often 16 games for baseball and softball and 12 matches for tennis. And through the early stages of the season, Mother Nature has been anything but accommodating, saturating local fields and making conditions otherwise unplayable.

“Yesterday when I was going through some changes the [school’s front] office people basically said to me, ‘Can you just type up a new schedule?’ ” said Medomak Valley High School athletic director Matt Lash. “Obviously, it’s been difficult. Lots of phone calls. The hard part is it takes you away from doing all the other things you need to do.”

“I think I have cauliflower ear with all the time I’ve been spending on the phone,” Mount View High School athletic director Chuck Karter said jokingly. “Talking to other ADs, talking with the grounds people, the officials and anyone else that will be impacted by the game.”

“It’s been inconvenient,” said Searsport District High School athletic director Jim McGinn. “We’ve had some bus issues and some umpire issues, so it has been a problem for everyone involved.”

The general school of thought of many is simple: Why not just extend the season to allow for more time to play the games? Well, it is not that easy.

Regional and state championship games and matches already are set for predetermined days at predetermined sites and cannot necessarily be shuffled, which means all preliminary, quarterfinal and semifinal playoff events have to be played within certain time constraints as well.

Which means much of the responsibility of scheduling — and often rescheduling events — falls on the shoulders of the athletic directors. That rescheduling often can prove to be an arduous task, especially with the erratic weather patterns.

Adding to the conundrum is the amount of non-sports extracurricular activities and testing that typically happens at the end of the academic year for high schools, particularly graduating seniors.

Scholastic Aptitude Testing (SATs), high school proms, banquets, senior class trips and, ultimately, graduation are just a few of the other student events that can make sports rescheduling cumbersome.

“It affects everybody,” said Oceanside High School athletic director Jim Leonard of the inclement weather. “It can become a scheduling nightmare.”

Already anticipating a rainout for Friday, May 4, Leonard feels the Mariners likely will be forced to move their baseball and softball games with Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield to Tuesday, May 8, where the Mariners already have a previously-scheduled games with Leavitt of Turner, games which had already been previously postponed.

The theory behind that move would be both the Mariners and Hornets have a “bye” week the last week of the season, where they will be able to play their games with more flexibility.

“It’s a juggling act,” said Leonard. “But I’m blessed with the fact that I have some coaches that have some flexibility. “

Mount View baseball and softball teams faced Gardiner May 3 in games that started earlier than usual to accommodate the Tigers, who had an event later in the evening for some of the teams’ student-athletes.

“I think the ADs, collectively, have worked really well together to try and get these events off,” said Karter. “They try to make them come through, [while] maintaining our fields and maintaining the integrity of the schedule.”

“All our colleagues in the KVACs are all good people, so we’ll try and get these games in the best we can,” said Leonard.

The most significant problem facing spring sports are with the baseball pitchers, who are regulated by specific rules to protect their arms.

The most specific hurdle for teams forced to clump many of games together will be rule 5C in the MPA’s baseball bulletin in regards to pitching, which reads: “A player who pitches in four or more innings per day may not pitch again until three calendar days have elapsed.”

For example, if a pitcher throws four innings on May 1, they cannot pitch again until May 5, regardless of how many pitches the player has thrown.

There are no such designations for high school softball.

“If it doesn’t change quickly it will affect [baseball] pitching rotations and you might have some kids that don’t typically start [as pitchers] start,” said Lash.

“That really concerns me from a pitching standpoint,” said Leonard. “[If] you end up with a bunch of games in a row, the question becomes do you have enough pitchers to make it through something like that?”

Both Lash and Leonard agreed that if the current weather pattern continues, doubleheaders may be something schools will have to consider to complete the regular seasons within the allotted time frame.

Searsport has not had the bad luck that other Knox, Waldo and Lincoln county schools have had given the fact that the Vikings played three of their regular-season games during April school vacation. However, if the rain persist, “we could be in trouble,” said McGinn.

“I still have room in my schedule to move games, but the problem has been nobody else does,” he said. “I think the week after next I only have one game scheduled, but next week I have a bunch happening.”

McGinn, much like Lash and Leonard, oversees both high school and middle school athletics within their respective Regional School Units, which is another issue in terms of scheduling.

Lash said his middle school baseball team has played only one game this season, and the Riverhawks’ May 3 game “isn’t looking good and tomorrow [May 4] doesn’t look good either.”

“The disappointing thing about it is the compressed time frame you get to play regular-season games, you miss your opportunity to play exhibition games at the middle school level,” said Leonard. “You have a fairly small schedule in the Busline League and I like to get a couple extra games in for the kids, and its just not going to happen this year.”

One team that has had the ability to make due when the rain has fallen is the Camden Hills girls tennis squad, which has played two home matches on the indoor courts at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport.

While it may not be panic time just yet for the Midcoast’s athletic directors, Lash offered the most sobering comment when asked if the problem would get better or worse sooner or later.

“Worse,” he said. “No question.”

Rain is in the forecast for both Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, in addition to May 9-11 throughout much of Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties, according to weather.com.

Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.