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WPIAL should change how it schedules baseball playoffs

Written by Mike White on .

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.

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Tom Brady

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The NFL hired investigators to look into Deflategate. They ended up writing a 243-page report that repeats the phrase "it's more probable than not" many times. I believe Tom Brady lied about what he knew and when he knew it. 

050815 Tom Brady

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May 8 movie podcast: Hot Pursuit, D Train, Welcome to Me

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Connellsville's WIltrout sets national record in javelin

Written by Mike White on .

The fascinating story of Madison Wiltrout and the javelin got even better today.

Wiltrout is a sophomore at Connellsville High School who decided to try the javelin event only a year ago. Wiltrout and her mother, Amy, logged onto YouTube.com to try and find out the correct way to throw the javelin.

So, in the span of a year, Wiltrout has gone from not knowing how to throw the javelin, to the best javelin thrower in the history of high school track and field in the United States.

If that statement seems a little strong, it's not. This afternoon, Wiltrout set the national high school record with a throw of 185 feet, 8 inches. 

Madison WiltroutWiltrout's throw came on her first attempt at the WPIAL Class AAA central qualifier at Norwin High School. She didn't bother to throw again.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations and Track & Field News, Wiltrout's throw broke the high school record of 181 feet, 2 inches, set by Haley Crouser of Gresham, Ore., in April of 2012.

It was yet another chapter in Wiltrout's unbelievable ascent from novice to national record holder. I don't remember a story like it in Western Pennsylvania high schools, maybe ever.

Wiltrout won the PIAA championship last year, but with a throw of 151-1. That was excellent for a freshman, but who could have predicted this? Wiltrout has gone into a different world this year. She hit 160 a few times. Impressive. Then she broke the WPIAL record with a throw of 168-5 two weeks ago at the Penn Relays. It was the second-best throw in the country.

Then last week, she threw only 160-10 at the Baldwin Invitational.

Then on the first throw at Norwin today ... Well, let's let Wiltrout explain.

"I don't honestly know what happened," she said with a laugh. "I just had that plant really hard and I got more hip into it. Before on the runway, I just kept thinking to myself, 'Keep your arm back.' So I think it all just came together."

Think of it, she already had the best throw in WPIAL history and the second-best in the country this year, and she bettered it by more than 17 feet. Not to overstate things, but it is an unreal story.

"At first they said they didn't have enough tape to measure it," Wiltrout said with a laugh.

Wiltrout said the meet was stopped for about 20 minutes so that officials could measure it three different times. They brought out a metal tape to measure, which is needed to be considered for a national record.

"Honestly, I don't know if it has hit me yet that I have the national record," said Wiltrout.

And remember, she is only a sophomore!!!!!!

"It really is something to think that it was just March of last year when she really decided to try this and just learned the technique of how to do this," said Wiltrout's mother, Amy. "She has worked so hard at this. People don't understand how hard she has worked at it. She just got a brand new pair of shoes, and in one week, the toe is completely worn out from her practicing and dragging her foot. She's so determined."

To put Wiltrout's throw in perspective, consider it would be the third-best among NCAA Division I colleges this season.

With the WPIAL championships next week and the PIAA championship in two weeks, the question is how far does Wiltrout go?

 

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Doug at May Market 12-3 Friday and Saturday

Written by Doug Oster on .

2014 - May Market -57 700 330 s c1May Market is a wonderful gardening tradition. Photo courtesy of Phipps Conservatory, by Paul g. Wiegman
I'll be appearing at May Market from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Friday May 8th and Saturday May 9th, 2015. May Market is held at Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Gardens and is a place to get just about anything you could possibly want for the garden.
I'll be in the tent near the outdoor garden answering garden questions and signing books.
May Market is an important tradition in Pittsburgh and one thing you must have when you go there are the strawberries dipped in fondant from Rockledge Garden Club.
Here are all the details on vendors and events, I can't wait!

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