For the first time in nearly a decade, the State Softball Tournament is likely heading out of the Glens Falls area.
On Wednesday, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that it and the state softball committee had recommended a bid from Section XI (Suffolk County) to host the State Softball Tournament from 2020-22. State tournament bids are for three-year periods.
The bid for the Moriches Athletic Complex in Moriches moves on to the championship advisory committee for further input next week. Final approval is up to a vote of the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee on Feb. 1.
The only two bids for the 2020-22 tournaments were for Moriches Athletic Complex and the current site of Harry J. Betar Recreational Park in Moreau.
“It’s not a done deal yet, but there’s a high level of confidence that it will be approved,” NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said. “It’s no slight to what (Section II) has done, they’ve done a wonderful job.”
“It’ll be sad to see it go if we do lose the bid,” Section II softball chairman Mike Glenn said. “Especially since we’ve put four or five Section II teams into states every year. It’s been nice to have the fan base in our area.”
Moreau Rec has hosted the State Softball Tournament since 2014, with 2019 the final year of its second three-year commitment. Prior to Moreau Rec, the tournament was held in Queensbury at the Adirondack Sports Complex and Morse Athletic Complex from 2011-13.
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The Moriches Athletic Complex features four artificial turf softball fields and lights, something few other facilities in the state have. Moreau Rec has four dirt-and-grass fields and no lights.
“Our goal is not to move (state tournaments) around, the goal is to find the best facility,” Zayas said. “The sport committee felt that four turf fields with lights would be an advantageous place for our student-athletes to play.”
Zayas said both the Moriches and Moreau Rec bids were similar financially. He added that hotel rates were very close, with Americade pushing up rates and limiting available rooms in the Glens Falls-Lake George region on the same weekend as state softball.
“We put together the same package we have the last few years,” Glenn said of the Moreau bid. “The cost of the facility went up a little bit, but that was expected. They have turf fields and lights, and the town of Brookhaven is picking up the tab for the cost of their facility. ... The one thing we might have in our favor is do they want to put the state tournament on turf when no one has played on it, no one’s used to it?”
Zayas said the turf fields and lights were very attractive in the event of inclement weather, which has plagued the State Softball Tournament a few times in recent years. The tournament — semifinals and finals for all five classes — is scheduled to be played in one Saturday. The 2017 tournament included a long rain delay that pushed some championship games to Sunday.
Asked about the fact that Moriches Athletic Complex is more than halfway down Long Island — a long bus ride from most of the other NYSPHSAA sections — Zayas said location is not a criteria for where tournaments are held.
“Being centrally located is not one of our criteria,” he said. “If it was, then we wouldn’t bother with bids from any sections other than II, III and IV. If we truly are an organization of 11 sections, then all 11 sections should have an equal chance of hosting a state tournament.”