Baseball committee recommends postseason changes for 1A and 2A, discusses lengthening season

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

The baseball committee is recommending an expansion to the Class 1A postseason.

During their meeting on Tuesday, the group voted to recommend expanding the 1A tournament from eight to 16 teams. Their recommendation will be forwarded to the Legislative Council for approval at their January meeting. If approved, the changes would go into effect in the 2019 season.

"The 1A schools felt that a change was necessary to showcase the better teams in their classification," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann, who administers baseball.

The baseball committee unanimously approved the recommendation.

Under the proposal, the top two teams from each district would automatically qualify for the 16-team bracket, with the remaining eight spots being filled by the next eight highest teams in the final RPI standings.

The first two rounds of the tournament would technically be regionals, with one school hosting four-team pods a week before the state semifinals. The semifinals and final would be held on the first day of the state track and field meet. Currently, the state final is held on the first day of state track — something that helps small schools as many of their athletes are dual-sport competitors.

This 1A proposal mirrors how 2A handles its postseason, with four-team regionals starting the bracket, and then a final day of semifinals and the title game roughly a week later.

2A is keeping its format the same, but did recommend some changes to their seeding process.

The seven district champions will continue to qualify for the 16-team field, with the nine at-large teams coming via the final RPI standings.

New, however, would be criteria that says district teams cannot face one another in Round 1, and where possible, would not be placed in the same region. Additionally, if teams from the same district finish in the top 8 of the final RPI standings, they would be placed on opposite sides of the bracket.

"2A likes their format, but they felt it needed some tweaking in terms of seeding," Borgmann said.

There was discussion of 3A, 4A and 5A moving to a single-elimination state tournament from its regional round to the end of state, but the committee elected to keep things as-is for now. They have commissioned a survey of schools to see if there would be interest in changing the format.

The 3A, 4A, 5A representatives also discussed reseeding teams after regionals, but the committee ultimately decided against doing so with a unanimous vote.

Committee discusses expansion of regular season

The committee talked at length about a proposal that would expand the regular seasons in 5A, 4A and 3A from 19 games to 23.

Ultimately, a proposal will need to come from a league as it would amend CHSAA bylaws (2920), but the committee did express its support for one. It is likely the a proposal is filed with the CHSAA office by the end of next week.

We will have more detail on that proposal once filed, but it is likely to mirror what basketball and volleyball currently do: expand the game limits in 5A, 4A and 3A from 19 to 23, while leaving 1A and 2A at 19.

Worth noting is that this would be an expansion to the limits of games a team can play; teams would not be required to play 23 games.

The committee did note that if a game expansion were to be approved, it would likely also require the season to be extended by a week.