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The Maine Principals’ Association Board of Directors and Interscholastic Management Committee voted on Friday morning to delay the start of the 2020 spring sports practices until April 27.

The original date was March 23, which marked when baseball and softball coaches were able to begin working only with their pitchers and catchers for a week.

Practices for all the spring sports — lacrosse, track and field and tennis, along with baseball and softball, had originally been set to begin on March 30.

Brewer softball coach Skip Estes said he was informed that April 27 is now the first day coaches will be able to work with their players. He wasn’t sure if that meant they would have a week with just the pitchers and catchers or it would begin with the full squad.

Monday, April 27, is the first day the students will return to school from their week-long spring vacation.

The decision was made after conversations with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Education, the Governor’s office and other health agencies in establishing the best way to provide services that people need while keeping them safe.

The MPA decision was based in part on comments Thursday by Gov. Janet Mills, who said the state is encouraging “social distancing.” By her definition, “social distancing” means groups of 250 or more people attending non-essential events should be delayed or postponed.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and will make the appropriate changes as needed to ensure the safety of all students,” the MPA said in a release.

Estes and Old Town baseball coach Brad Goody agree with the MPA’s decision to push back the start of the season and said they hope their players will work out on their own to get ready before April 27.

Estes said the fact it has been a mild winter and the fields aren’t snow-covered in Greater Bangor will be beneficial to area teams.

“Hopefully, they’ll go up to some of our local fields and throw and get in shape,” said Estes, who has guided his Witches to back-to-back Class B state championships. “If not, we could wind up with sore arm syndrome.”

“I have 10 seniors and I’m sure they will take it upon themselves to go outside and get throws in,” said Goody.

Estes and Goody said it will mean they will have precious little time to pick their rosters and they don’t anticipate playing any preseason games.

The Brewer softball team was scheduled to open the season on April 21 at Lewiston while Goody’s Coyote baseball team was slated to begin its season on April 23 with rival Orono.

Maine baseball and softball teams play 16-game regular-season schedules.

It has yet to be determined how many regular season games will be played.

“Maybe we can play all doubleheaders with each game lasting five innings,” offered Goody.

According to the MPA bulletin, the date for the last countable regular-season games in softball and baseball is June 4. The playoffs are scheduled begin with the preliminary round five days later and it all culminates in the state championship games on Saturday, June 20.

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