The WPIAL baseball committee meets today to determine playoff pairings and seedings. That means it's time for me to go on my soapbox about the way the committee schedules playoff games.
Let's put it this way: Is there any level of baseball, from 9- and 10-year olds through college, where a team is able to use the same pitcher in the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship of a tournament? Silly, isn't it? But not for the WPIAL playoffs.
You get to the quarterfinals and have an ace pitcher? There is a good chance you can use him for three consecutive games.
North Allegheny athletic director Bob Bozzuto is the chairperson of the baseball committee. Here's to hoping Bob and the crew change things this season. I'm not the only one who has thought the WPIAL scheduling doesn't make sense. Many coaches have said the same thing.
It doesn't seem to make sense that the WPIAL schedule for the regular season doesn't allow for the same pitcher to work three consecutive games. So why in the playoffs? Why not make it so a team needs more than one pitcher? Hey, this isn't supposed to be softball.
I don't know when it exactly started, but the WPIAL started making the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals so far apart that one pitcher could work all three games. It has happened a number of times in previous years. I'm sorry, there is no good reason things should be that way.
The schedule usually works like this: The first round and the quarterfinals are played only a few days apart. But the semifinals and finals are played far enough apart to use the same pitcher in the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship. So a team can use the No. 2 pitcher in the first round, win and then use the ace for the next three games. Some teams receive a first-round bye. Those teams don't even have to use a No. 2 pitcher at all.
It really is easy to fix. Make the quarterfinals and semifinals only two days apart, so the same pitcher can't work both of those games. So the schedule would work this way: First-round games are played Monday and Tuesday of next week. The quarterfinals are scheduled for, say, the following Saturday (May 16) and the semifinals for two days later. Then there is a week off for the fianls.
Or if you want to stay away from Saturday games, play the quarterfinals Monday, May 18, and the semifinals two days later. Obviously, things get moved back if it rains.
So come on WPIAL, make it more like a real baseball tournament. Even many coaches have scratched their heads about the scheduling previous years. This isn't softball.