Rain threat forces officials to ‘assess’ Slugfest plan

First Posted: 4/18/2014

RED SPRINGS — Jason Suggs spent most of Friday morning shaking his head.

A possible schedule change to one of Robeson County’s premiere athletic events had PSRC’s athletic director irritated.

Latest models from WRAL, AccuWeather and The Weather Channel project an early-arriving downpour for southeastern North Carolina on Saturday, forcing a mid-afternoon meeting at central office concerning the Slugfest on Friday.

“There’s no way around it, but we’re playing it by ear,” Suggs said after talking with officials at Red Springs who are hosting this year’s event. “The weather’s changed since (Thursday) night and now it’s supposed to be wet through the weekend, especially Saturday. We could get up to 1.5 inches of rain.”

Officials will assess the weather early Saturday morning and make a decision before the opening round’s first games begin at 10 a.m.

As of late Friday, baseball and softball games at Tom Cope and Clayson Park are still scheduled for Saturday. If there’s a postponement, all games will be moved to Monday, pushing the semifinal and championship rounds back a day to Tuesday and Wednesday, which cuts deeper into spring break for participating players and their families.

Rain delays and postponements have been a consistent problem during the April tournament in recent years, washing away the Slugfest altogether in 2004. It’s an additional headache for Suggs, who has worked tirelessly with coaches and athletic directors this school year rescheduling games due to weather-related issues during the fall, winter and spring seasons.

“It looked like we would have a pleasant weekend, then the forecast changed,” Suggs said.

Red Springs baseball coach and athletic director Chris Howell covered the mound and home plate area at his field Friday morning, but like most prep baseball programs, the Red Devils don’t have a tarp large enough to span the entire infield.

Saturation could be an issue says Suggs, but conditions should be dry enough to begin the tournament on Monday if Saturday’s a wash.

“We’ll keep the same game times if we have to move the first round to Monday, but as of now, that’s not the plan just yet,” he said.

Reach Brad Crawford at 910-272-6111 or on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.