The weather is sure to have an effect on the final week of the regular season in the Valley Baseball League.
The league announced on Sunday that the regular season would be extended for two extra days to give teams a chance to play as many games as possible. The regular season was supposed to end on Thursday but now will end on Saturday. VBL Commissioner Bruce Alger said the playoffs, which start on Sunday, will be determined by what the standings are after Saturday’s games are played.
“We realized with the weather forecast for this week throughout the league, and the different locations in the league, that we were going to have some issues probably with rainouts,” Alger said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon. “And since all of the races are so close in both the North and the South Divisions we wanted to give everyone a chance to get as many games in as possible.”
Alger said that are plenty of reasons to try to extend the season as long as possible.
“We have games that are being sponsored by sponsors of the teams,” Alger said. “We’ve got fans that are looking forward to the games. And we wanted to get to the players as much of an opportunity to play as possible.”
Four teams from each division will advance to the playoffs. Alger said the league will determine the playoff pairings Saturday night and get them out as quickly as possible.
Alger said they have 14 days to finish the playoffs, which consist of three rounds of best-of-three series. The New Market resident said that allows the league at least five rain days to make sure they get the playoffs completed.
Rain has been an issue throughout the season, and Alger said one of the biggest problems is having an 11-team league. He said they weren’t able to schedule as many rain make-up dates throughout the season as they could with an even number of teams.
“It’s been difficult, and some teams have had to play some doubleheaders – two seven-inning games,” he said. “Some teams have had to play an afternoon game at one location and go to another location to play a nine-inning game that night.”
The regular season is scheduled for 42 games and entering Monday’s games many teams still had at least five games left to play with some having as many as seven left.
Teams in the South Division were in much better shape than teams in the North Division. Waynesboro has only two games left, while Covington has the most left in the South Division with five games remaining. In the North Division, Strasburg still has seven games left to play, while Woodstock has the fewest with four.
Several games were postponed on Monday — Purcellville at Front Royal and Harrisonburg at New Market. Strasburg’s home game with Winchester was moved to Winchester due to the rain. The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain every day for the rest of the week.
Alger said he’s been proud of the way the teams in the league have handled the situation.
“Everybody has been cooperative, and everybody has worked together because they understand that our objective is to get as many games in as possible – that’s always been the league objective,” Alger said. “So everybody’s been working real, real hard to do that, to get as many games in as they can. And it’s important to our fan base and our sponsorships, too. And it gives Major League Baseball more of an opportunity to look at us as well.”