Well, we're one crazy day into the Section II Baseball Tournament, and it hasn't been boring. Grab some coffee or water, I felt like writing a lot this morning.
For starters, I've thought hard, but I'm not sure I can remember a slew of games being played the same day as the meeting. Maybe one or two in large classes, possibly in softball years ago when I had that beat, but I can't swear to it.
What seemed to be on people's lips and fingertips (social media) were the seedings, and how they were arrived at. The most conversation centered around classes B and D. Briefly, in Class B, when Hudson and Spa Catholic had the same league records, they went with Spa Catholic as the No. 1 seed because it had played a fuller schedule (going 18-2 for a .900 win percentage) than Hudson (which went 16-1 for a .941 win percentage). Not to be forgotten in this was Ichabod Crane, which had a 14-1 league record and 15-1 overall record, which ended up No. 3.
First, let me say I respect all sports committees greatly and the countless hours and hard work they put in. This is armchair quarterbacking, I admit, and whatever decisions the baseball committee has made about seeding have surely come after long deliberations.
They just might need a tweak.
Hudson fans (and even IC fans) felt the "fuller schedule" argument shouldn't hold more power than overall win percentage or quality wins.
Now before we go too far down this road, let's state the obvious: You've got to beat them all, no matter what, so who gives two hoots what seed the opponents are? And from the teams' and athletes' perspective, absolutely!
I agree with that, but only to a point.
If you are going to the trouble to seed teams, you should be constantly making sure that you are doing so as fairly as possible. It makes for fun water-cooler conversation if a few double-digit seeds are in semifinals or finals, but for the committee, it could be a sign that the seedings weren't right. Not always -- upsets happen, circumstances happen, etc., but maybe...
Going to Class D for a moment, Fort Plain had a 12-1 league record and Fort Ann had a 9-1 league record because the Adirondack League voted to shorten its league schedule to 10 games when the start of the schedule was compromised by the snow and rain. Not to mention this is the first year of the state's pitch count rule, so the league probably took that into consideration and decided to not tax a lot of players' arms -- some of whom might be very new to pitching.
That ended up hurting Fort Ann, which normally would have had 13 league games like Fort Plain, and Fort Plain got the No. 1 seed. Whitehall got the No. 3 seed -- probably what it was bound to get no matter the goings-on of the teams above it -- but now that means the Railroaders are likely facing Fort Ann in the semifinals instead of, potentially, the finals.
Again, let's address the elephant in the room: It's not easy facing Fort Ann in any round. Having already been shut out by Bryant-bound Tyler Mattison during the regular season, Whitehall will probably face Cornell-bound Garrett Bailey in a semifinal. Pick your poison, right? But here's the thing: IF Whitehall had gotten by Fort Plain in a semifinal and then had to face Mattison again, on the one hand, ugh, but on the other hand, it would at least be in the final and it's also what the players, as competitors, want. Taking nothing away from Bailey, whose credentials speak for themselves, Mattison is the best in Class D and one of the best in Section II and New York State. Even if they lose, the Railroaders want to face the best they can at the furthest level they can.
Whitehall coach Keith Redmond also addressed strength of schedule/league quality as something he felt would have helped Fort Ann's argument. He stuck up for the top five in the Adirondack League being very strong and not accusing, but wondering if the WAC's top five were as strong. And he may well have a point. The Adirondack League went 2-0 yesterday, while the WAC went 1-5.
There is also the argument that Fort Ann, despite its upset loss to Warrensburg, has some very impressive victories, including over Class A South Glens Falls, Class B Glens Falls, Class C Lake George, as well as a respectable 10-7 loss to the aforementioned No. 1 in B, Spa Catholic, in which the Cardinals uncharacteristically committed several errors.
Redmond said the baseball committee should at least talk about instituting a point system for quality wins, like the boys basketball committee does, and I think that's a great idea. The boys basektball committee also takes into account injuries/trends, and that has served it well, and it would have done the same here in baseball.
I don't know of any other examples, but now that Greenwich is getting healthy after an early part of the season where the Witches were a M*A*S*H unit, the results have spoken loudly. Greenwich has won seven of its last eight games, with its only loss coming to Spa Catholic as the second part of a doubleheader.
Greenwich is better than a 9 seed.
I don't want this to sound like criticism, it's actually not. It is analysis of how the first day of sectionals went with the hope that next year the committee, knowing it can't please everybody, will please more.