Softball committee considers but ultimately passes on format change for its postseason

State softball Aurora Sports Park generic

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

AURORA — The softball committee on Thursday heard a proposal that sought to change the format for the sport's regional and state tournaments. Ultimately, they opted to not vote on it, asking for more feedback from schools.

The proposal, presented by Vista Ridge athletic director Sam Baldwin, sought to change the regional tournaments to single-elimination, and the state tournaments to double-elimination. Currently, regionals are double-elimination, while state is a single-elimination format. Baldwin's proposal was specific to 4A and 5A, but there was a similar proposal for 3A that largely mirrored the 4A/5A proposal.

While discussing the topic, committee members expressed concern that the proposal would have cut state qualifiers from 16 to eight teams, and that not every softball school had seen it.

"When you show up to a the state tournament and there are all these teams playing, it's a great feel," said Pomona athletic director Mike Santarelli, a committee member.

Added Dave Craddock, another committee member who is the athletic director at Pueblo Central: "Some of our coaches kind of liked the double-elimination idea, but they absolutely did not like cutting (the field) to eight."

Michelle Woodard, the coach and athletic director at Strasburg, echoed that sentiment. "Two years ago, we went to 16 teams (from 12 in 3A) because we wanted more participation at the state tournament," she said.

Committee members were also hesitant about getting right of double-elimination at the regional round, because they felt it ensured the best teams advanced to the state tournaments.

"If you go to single-elimination, you may have a situation where a 32 (seed) knocks off a 1, and then there's no chance to battle back, and you're not having the best teams at the state tournament," said Eaglecrest coach Yvette Hendrian.

Notably this past season, 5A champion Legend and 4A champion Mountain View lost their first games at regionals but came back to win titles.

The proposal is likely to return to the softball committee in the future for more consideration after schools are surveyed and feedback is incorporated into the format. Because most postseason format changes are typically only approved before the start of the two-year cycle, it means that softball will likely stay with its current format through at least the 2018-20 cycle.

Notables

  • The topic of pitch-counts was raised in the committee. While no proposal is imminent, one may not be far off. "This is on the horizon," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Bud Ozzello, who oversees softball. "They're starting to gather data" on the national level, he added.
  • New district and league alignment was recommended. That will be included as part of the sport's report presented to the Legislative Council in January.