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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Martinez: Turf fields benefit most, but not all

High school sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: April 18, 2023, 7:05pm
2 Photos
Battle Ground senior Rylee Rehbein pitches underneath dark clouds Wednesday, April 12, 2023, during the Tigers??? 4-0 loss to Skyview at Fort Vancouver High School.
Battle Ground senior Rylee Rehbein pitches underneath dark clouds Wednesday, April 12, 2023, during the Tigers??? 4-0 loss to Skyview at Fort Vancouver High School. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Here are some meteorological fun facts.

The average high temperature in the Portland/Vancouver area in the month of April is 61 degrees.

The number of days this April that we have exceeded that average high temperature: zero.

The average day of our first 70-degree day is April 2.

We have yet to eclipse 70 degrees this spring. In fact, we’ve only experienced a handful of days when the temperature has broken into the 60s.

So, yes, it has been a particularly chilly and wet spring, not that anyone who spends any time outdoors — like spring sport athletes — would need to be told that.

But thanks to recent investments in synthetic turf fields, the high school baseball and softball schedules are in relatively good shape as we enter the latter half of April.

All four high schools in Evergreen Public Schools have turfed baseball/softball fields. So does Camas High School. The four high schools in Vancouver Public Schools have shared access to Propstra Stadium, which has a turfed infield, and to the all-turf softball field at Fort Vancouver High School.

King’s Way Christian’s baseball team plays on a turfed field at neighboring Luke Jensen Sports Park, and Seton Catholic’s baseball team plays the turf infield at Harmony Sports Complex.

Ridgefield teams have access to the Ridgefield Outdoor Sports Complex, and Kelso’s baseball team plays on a turf field at Rister Stadium.

Ridgefield’s softball team has played its home games at the RORC this spring, even though the Spudders have one of the nicer dirt-and-grass facilities in the county on campus.

“It’s nice to have a turf facility and we’re blessed with that,” Ridgefield softball coach Kelsey Anchors said. “But I know the girls love the dirt so it’s very hard not to be able to play on our field. We just need some sun and some 30-mile-an-hour wind to dry that field.”

But for Clark County teams like those at Battle Ground, Prairie, Washougal, Hockinson, Woodland and La Center, they don’t have a turf-field option to turn to.

Monday was a perfect example of that. Those teams who had access to turf fields played, while those that didn’t had to reschedule.

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And the postponements are starting to pile up. Columbia River’s baseball team was scheduled to play all five days Monday through Friday this week. Weather permitting, of course.

Because softball district tournaments can be completed in two days, there is still a monthlong window for those teams to complete league schedules.

But the window is closing for baseball teams. The 2A Greater St. Helens League and Trico League teams are scheduled to play their last league game on May 5, just over two weeks away.

The 4A and 3A GSHL are slated to complete league play next week and have left the first week of May for 4A/3A crossover games. Those games can be scrubbed from the schedule if league games still need to be made up.

We are starting to see some league games get moved to Saturday this week, and we could see more if the wet weather continues.

But there is potential good news on the way. According to Weather.com, a warming trend is possible by late next week, including the potential for our first 70-degree day of the spring.

Yeah, I know. We’ll believe that when we see.

Because even for the coaches and athletes in spring sports that don’t usually get rescheduled because of wet conditions, it has still been a rough spring.

Last Friday at the John Ingram Twlight Invitational track and field meet at Columbia River, I bumped into Skyview football coach and assistant track coach Steve Kizer.

“It’s a nice day for a track meet,” I said, noting that Friday was our first 60-degree day in the month of April.

“Oh, it’s been like this for all our meets,” Kizer quipped, sarcastically. “That’s why I went to Cabo last week.”

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Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow him at @360TMart on Twitter and Instagram.

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