And after one and a half innings, it’s Mother Nature 2, Nooksack Valley backstop 0.
For the second straight year, the weather in north Whatcom County has gotten the better of the baseball backstop at Nooksack Valley High School. The weekend ice storm that knocked out power in parts of Sumas, Everson, Nooksack and Lynden, resulting in classes being canceled in the Nooksack Valley School District Tuesday, bowed and nearly flattened part of the fencing behind home plate on the varsity baseball field, just like it has so many trees in the area.
“I think it was kind of the perfect storm,” Pioneers athletic director Tom Harmon said of the damage. “Friday we had the storm that coated everything with some ice, and then we got those weekend winds and the rain that kept falling on it and building, and it ended up acting like a big sail.”
Harmon said it was the west-facing side of the backstop, which stands approximately 30 feet tall, that caught the brunt weekend winds racing out of Canada’s Fraser River Valley and therefore suffered the heaviest damage.
Seeing the fence bending toward the ground was surprising, considering a new backstop was erected just before the start of the baseball season last spring after a series of winter storms in February and early March dumped heavy snow and ice and combined with winds to bring the backstop down the first time.
“We had scheduled to rebuild it last year, but not until after the season was over,” Harmon said. “Mother Nature helped tear it down, so we decided to do it before the start of the season. We didn’t get terrible winds this time around, but it looks like it was the right combination, and now it’s leaning and it looks like we’ve got some compromised material.”
Harmon said Up-Right Fence Co. of Deming, which handled work on the new backstop last spring, already has been contacted and planned to head to the school to assess the damage.
“They’ve done a real good job for us,” Harmon said of Up-Right Fence. “They put some fencing up for us at the middle school ball field and did a real nice job.”
Harmon said he was unsure who would be financially responsible for any repairs this year until after the situation was assessed, but, he added, insurance helped cover “the high amount of damage we had to the baseball and softball fields with last year’s storms.”
Also: Despite classes being canceled because of the power outage, Nookack Valley still plans to play its Northwest Conference basketball games against Lynden Tuesday night, Harmon said. The Pioneers are scheduled to host the Lions in a boys game at 7:15 p.m., while the girls are slated to play at Lynden at the same time.