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Weather could impact tourneys

June 12, 2010
By Dennis Grall

ESCANABA - It is time for the MHSAA to pay attention when it schedules postseason tournaments in spring because weather is a major factor.

That is particularly the case today when regional baseball and softball games are spread across the state. If rain washes out games anywhere, there will be a significant impact because the next round of quarterfinals are Tuesday.

Baseball would suffer the biggest hit because of pitching availability if today's games get postponed to Monday, just 24 hours before the quarters.

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Dennis Grall

According to MHSAA rules, if the Monday games would also get postponed, a coin flip, "an absolute last resort" according to MHSAA official John Johnson, would be used to determine who advances to the next round.

Johnson indicated regional teams may even be brought to the quarterfinal site Tuesday to finish a game if needed, which he added was a remote possibility.

Just imagine an unbeaten team not having the chance to advance because it lost a coin flip, or a .500 or less team wins a coin flip to continue playing.

The district round ended last Saturday. Why can't regional games be scheduled for Wednesday? That arrangement would allow baseball teams to protect their pitchers at both ends and have them available for the quarterfinals.

It is tough enough for those quarterfinal winners to then play Friday-Saturday in Battle Creek for the semifinals and finals. Providing some flexibility in regional scheduling would benefit everyone.

The weather question also impacts fans, particularly those making long drives to regional sites.

For instance, Ironwood must play baseball at Mancelona today, which must be at least an eight-hour drive. That means everyone left early Friday and lodging is required for a game that may get rained out and not played until Monday. Wow, what a miserable scenario.

The state coaches association has been trying to convince the MHSAA to adjust the regional scheduling. Hopefully MHSAA officials are listening.

While baseball and softball teams continue their postseason trail, the remaining U.P. spring sports teams ended their seasons last week.

what a performance by the track girls from Big Bay de Noc. Only six Black Bears competed, but the quality more than offset the quantity as they won the Division 3 championship, the first U.P. track title in school history.

It just underlines how much can be accomplished through hard work and dedication. They refused to give up, even when results in some finals races were not what they were anticipating.

The hardest part of securing the title went right down to the day's last event, the 1600 relay. Big Bay did not have a team in the race and played nervous spectator because Ontonagon could have claimed its first U.P. title since 1974 by either winning or finishing second. The Gladiators, seeded seventh, could not pull off a miracle race and did not place, enabling the Black Bears to rejoice with their trophy.

Tremendous performance by the Black Bears, something to be proud of no matter which school is your favorite.

The name of Wayne Schwalbach was conspicuously absent in a printout of Upper Peninsula records at the track finals. Schwalbach threw the shot put 58-feet, 7-inches in 1974, a mark that has never been challenged at the U.P. Finals.

However, Kent King of Gladstone is given credit for the mark at 52-feet, one-half inch, which he reached the past two years.

The pre-division records in the U.P. have been retired, Johnson confirmed in an email. He said Class D records have been maintained even though it is now Division 3 "since it was the same group of schools for the most part."

While that is true, it doesn't explain retiring the other divisions because Class A-B and Class C schools, for the most part, comprise what is now D-1 and D-2.

Because of enrollment changes, schools switch divisions-classes every year. It would appear more sensible to either keep all the old records intact or retire all of them.



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