The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 23, 2013

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


The Class AAA bracket's just as rough considering there's a solid chance the area can receive an all-Valley semifinal (which would be Mifflinburg vs. Danville and Shamokin vs. Milton, if it works out).

Like their AA counterparts, another one of those talented teams will get left out on May 30 when they duke it out for the district title.

"I feel that is is unfair not only for the fact that one game does not determine the better team, but for the fact that it is not equal for other areas," Mifflinburg pitcher Alli Lloyd said. "Some districts take two, some take one, and some it changes from year to year. It should be the same number of teams going from each district. Great quality teams get left out of the state tournament every year."

Only Class A in District 4 takes the top two teams. It follows the same pattern as last years' qualifiers from our district.

Of the 12 districts within Pennsylvania this year, all but four take just the district champion in both Class AA and AAA.

Districts 3, 6, 7 and 12 in AA and 1, 3, 7, and 12 in AAA take multiple teams, and the reason boils down to simply the amount of schools per district. The larger the amount of schools, the more teams get to move on. For example, District 6 in AAA -- which represents the outlying Pittsburgh area, such as Johnstown -- takes not only the two finalists, but the third-place finisher as well.

Those districts mentioned all represent "larger markets" if you will.

District 1 represents the outskirts of Philadelphia, such as Abington and West Chester; District 3 represents the Reading, Bethlehem and Allentown areas; District 7 represents Pittsburgh; District 3 comprises of Lancaster and Harrisburg areas; District 12 represents Philadelphia.

As anyone can tell you though, quantity does not equal quality.

"It is, from experience, upsetting to know that other district runner up teams move on to the state tournament while others don't," Lloyd said, whose Wildcats lost in the AA final last year to Warrior Run and were denied a state berth. "I also feel that District 4 softball has some of the toughest teams in the state and it's sad to know that not even two of them could be moving on to make a state appearance, not to mention they could win games in the state appearance."

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