SDHSBA declares weather emergency for second straight year
The snowy and wet conditions have altered high school baseball schedules across the state, forcing the South Dakota High School Baseball Association (SDHSBA) to declare a weather emergency for the second straight year.
The emergency impacts only Class B, allowing teams more flexibility when rescheduling postponed games.
Class B teams are no longer required to play each division opponent twice and region opponent once to qualify for the playoffs, but were told to prioritize making up division games. Most wins in division and region play still acts as the tiebreaker for playoff seeding.
"We're removing that requirement because we know some teams won't be able to play all of their required games," SDHSBA Executive Director Dane Yde said. "Our president (Ryan Bauer) has told the teams to prioritize any of their division games that they have lost due to the weather, and get those rescheduled first."
Class A isn't impacted by the emergency, though, and won't have to scramble to make up games. Teams are only required to play 12 games to qualify for the playoffs and have its region playoffs a week later. Mitchell (8-2) scheduled 32 games this season.
In order to help Class B teams play as many games as possible, the SDHSBA is allowing them to play five-inning doubleheaders. However, Winner/Colome coach Drew Weber is hoping to avoid that option, even if it means playing back-to-backs and three games in four days.
"We'd like to play as much baseball as we can, and to play home and away," Weber said. "We'll probably be OK as far as avoiding that as long as we don't have any other changes. But if we have anything else, we're going to maybe look at that as an option."
Winner/Colome (2-0) has only played two games this season, including Sunday at Hot Springs. Other Class B teams were playing this week, too. As of Wednesday, Madison and Baltic each played a class-high six games.
The Royals will resume play at Gregory/Burke on Monday and host Chamberlain/Kimball/Lyman on Tuesday in Winner for its first back-to-back of the season. Weber still expects to play every originally scheduled opponent other than non-region foe Hanson/Bridgewater-Emery/Mount Vernon/Plankinton, which has played three games.
The weather has the greatest impact on the Royals' quality of practice, despite Weber saying, "Our field holds water pretty well."
"As far as practices we've been able to have, which would be the quality of practice we normally would have, it's in the single digits," he said. "We've been outside a lot, but we haven't been able to take much live fielding or hitting."
Weber added he thinks teams will be cramming in more games at the end of the season compared to last year.
Outside of tired pitching staffs and a few surprising regular-season upsets, he didn't feel last year's weather emergency had much of an impact on the playoffs since most teams in Winner/Colome's region ended up playing each other.
"Last year, I don't think it was too bad," Weber said. "This year, from my perspective, is a little tougher. It seems like (the snow) is longer, more spread out, and will end up pushing those games to the very end."
Class B has between May 12-16 to play its division playoffs and May 19-22 for the region playoffs.
"The biggest thing from the board of directors, we're trying to provide as much flexibility as we can for teams to get games in," Yde said. "And not penalize anybody for games that may not be able to be made up."