The Class 5A state baseball tournament is getting an early start, thanks to weather that hasn’t even arrived yet.
Fearing a deluge of scheduling complications that might arise from a deluge of rain that is expected to pound the state Friday, a number of first-round series will start today instead of Friday.
With the blessing of the New Mexico Activities Association, schools were given the option to begin their best-of-3 series a day early in Classes 5A, 4A and 3A.
Among the metro-area schools that have taken the NMAA up on that offer are Volcano Vista, Rio Grande, Rio Rancho, St. Pius and East Mountain.
Volcano Vista, Rio Grande, St. Pius and East Mountain all are scheduled to host two games today.
The Hawks, the No. 1 seed in 5A, will play Alamogordo at 2 p.m. The Ravens, the No. 4 seed, are doing the first of two games with Farmington at 3 p.m. The Sartans, the No. 1 in Class 4A, will play host to Bloomfield at 1:30 p.m. And the Timberwolves, seeded second in 3A, are taking on visiting Raton starting at 2 p.m.
Rio Rancho will entertain Eldorado at 4 p.m. today in Game 1 of their series, with two more games scheduled on Friday at 4 and 6:30 p.m. If they can’t play Friday, the series will resume Saturday morning.
Other schools that are planning to begin early are Centennial in 5A, Santa Teresa in 4A and Robertson in 3A.
Nobody was probably busier Wednesday than NMAA Commissioner of Officials Dana Pappas, who was working feverishly to arrange for umpiring crews to accommodate the revised schedule.
For series that aren’t slated to begin until Friday — as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, that list of local home teams included Cleveland, La Cueva, Albuquerque Academy and Valley — rainouts on Friday could bring several scenarios into play.
One of those scenarios, which is perhaps the most extreme and unlikely, would be to try and play all three games, if a third game is necessary, on Saturday.
Another would be to split the series up between Saturday and Monday, but this could put a strain on traveling schools, not to mention that stretching first-round series into early next week could possibly lead to pitch-count issues as we head into the quarterfinals and beyond.
A third option would be to play Saturday and Sunday. Playing on Sunday would not be entirely unprecedented.
“We’ll address (weather-related issues) when it happens,” NMAA Associate Director Dusty Young said.
SOFTBALL: Young said softball’s first round, which unlike baseball in 3A-5A is single elimination, will remain with games on Friday or Saturday.
Two games that have changed are Kirtland Central at Los Lunas and Valley at Valencia, both moving from Friday to Saturday, both at 1 p.m.
TENNIS/TRACK AND FIELD: Classes 1A-3A are holding their state track meet Friday and Saturday at the University of New Mexico complex.
The team tennis championships are Friday and Saturday at multiple locations throughout the city.
If the rain interferes, Young said, “we’ll handle those on the fly, case by case. Hopefully, we can get things in as scheduled.”
(Click here for the NMAA’s updates on baseball, softball schedule changes.)