The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 23, 2013

Jon Gerardi's high school softball column: State berths just aren't fair

Like many folks, I got pretty excited when they released the District 4 softball playoff brackets.

It's always fun when they get released. It's like a mini, local version of "Selection Sunday" for March Madness.

There's no shortage of interesting and intriguing matchups throughout Class AA and AAA in District 4 either. The one that immediately leaped out to me was Lourdes at Southern Columbia on Friday in the Class AA semifinals.

But what I also found out -- or rather was confirmed from what I suspected I should say -- is that in both Class AA and AAA, only the district champion gets to advance to the PIAA state tournament, which isn't fair, and I'm sure many people agree.

The Valley always seems to have a plethora of talented teams and players when it comes to softball year in and year out, and this season is no exception either. Just look at the solid local teams in districts this year: Warrior Run, Lourdes, Southern Columbia, Mifflinburg, Milton, Danville, Shamokin.

In the top of the AA bracket, Warrior Run, Lourdes and Southern are all grouped together, meaning that regardless of who advances, only one of them has a chance to be in the final. But let's say, for argument's sake, one of those three loses to the likes of Central Columbia or Loyalsock in the final. That's it. End of the road; no chance to redeem themselves with a win in states.

"It is (a shame they only take winner). Central's a good ball club, Loyalsock's a good ball club, Warrior Run's a good ball club, we're in the mix there a little, we're a good ball club (too)," Southern Columbia coach Al Cihocki said. "Any given day we can play with anybody. They had a good year last year and most of that team's back, so they have experience playing tough games, so we'll see what happens. You never know."

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