Spring sports get into full swing this week as March nears a close and the calendar turns to April.
Unlike the beginning of last year's spring season, which was littered with rain and snow wreaking havoc on fields along with chilly temperatures, this year's season got off to a much cleaner and warmer start. Many baseball, softball and lacrosse teams started their seasons on a sunny, 70-degree day this past Thursday.
The weather is expected to remain nice this week, so let's take a look at what to watch for in the first full week of the spring sports season:
Delone Catholic at Gettysburg, 4:15 p.m. Wednesday: Last year, these teams played an early-season game that was suspended by darkness with the score tied 1-1 in the 10th inning. They eventually reconvened to finish that three-hour affair, with Delone Catholic scoring the winning run about 10 minutes in. Then-senior Hunter Keith started the game for Delone, then got the win in relief three weeks later.
Both teams return the bulk of last year's players and have aspirations of winning YAIAA division titles. Although they play in different divisions, this crossover game will count in the division standings for both teams.
Delone Catholic at Kennard-Dale, 4:15 p.m. Thursday: Like the Squires' game against the Warriors, the Squirettes game at the same time on the same day is also a YAIAA crossover game that will count in the division standings.
Delone Catholic is expected to be the class of Division IV this year, but Kennard-Dale has division title aspirations of its own after placing second in Division III last year. These teams combined to go 34-9 last season.
New Oxford at South Western, 4:15 p.m. Tuesday: Both teams believe they're on the upswing after very similar seasons last year. Both went 2-9 in the YAIAA, while the Colonials won one more game overall than the Mustangs. This game will give one team a head start as they jockey each other for position in the standings.
Track and field
Dallastown at New Oxford, 3:45 p.m. Tuesday: This season-opening dual meet between Division I foes will be especially intriguing on the girls' side.
The Wildcats were one of three division co-champions last year, while New Oxford boasts some athletes expecting to have great seasons. Junior thrower Madi Smith set the Colonials javelin throw record last season and placed second at the PIAA championships, and senior jumper/sprinter Ayanna Johnson won three YAIAA medals last year.
Spring Grove at Red Lion boys' volleyball, 7:30 p.m. Thursday: Spring Grove made strides last year by qualifying for districts, and this game should give some clarity on whether the Rockets can pick up where they left off.
Both teams went 6-5 in the YAIAA last season, but Spring Grove takes the court with a new coach and without last year's senior leaders, Dalton Forbes and Austin Muff. A win in the Lions gym would go a long way for this Rockets team.