By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald Sports
I know that high school principals have souls.
Just to rid themselves of a few private schools who, I admit, do have unfair advantages over the others in terms of how they acquire athletes, the majority of principals who are members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association have set up a playoff system that is highly unfair to schools branded as “Select.”
Can the majority of principals possibly think they made the LHSAA better placing such schools in playoff brackets designed for 32 teams, when, in fact, some of these divisions can’t fill brackets half that size?
Do these men and women revel in their deed, which has caused first-round byes and second-round blowouts?
In an effort to make it easier for their respective schools to take home a championship trophy, they created a chaotic playoff system for the non-public schools.
I wonder if these principals even care about what transpired in the LHSAA softball tournament in Sulphur last week?
McKinley, a team that went 0-13 and had lost its final seven games of the regular season by a monstrous margin of 104 runs to 0, fielded a team against the No. 1 seed Mount Carmel.
The Cubs scored 13 runs before McKinley’s pitching and defense managed to force a single out. Not one Panther batter was able to cope with All-State pitcher Shelby Wickersham’s fastballs.
The result was an 18-0 blowout loss in 2 1/3 innings.
To add insult to the outcome, the LHSAA discovered McKinley’s lineup was stocked with unregistered players. Executive director Eddie Bonine had to fine the school $3,200. McKinley would have fared better by forfeiting the game ahead of time and remaining in Baton Rouge.
Five of the eight teams in Division I had losing records, including Byrd High (8-21), which failed to get a hit in losing to Dominican, 15-0. This quarterfinal-round game also went 2 1/3 innings.
Dominican, which had lost to Catholic League rival Mount Carmel, 6-0 and 4-0, in district play, gained some revenge in the semifinals by beating the Cubs, 2-1, before losing to John Curtis, 7-5, in the finals.
Routs were order of the day
The beatings continued throughout the quarterfinal-round Select brackets.
Parkview Baptist over Thomas Jefferson, 17-3; St. Charles Catholic over E.D. White, 11-1; Notre Dame over Patrick Taylor, 15-0; and John Curtis over St. Joseph’s Academy, 18-2.
Three of four Division I quarterfinal-round games lasted three innings.
Five of eight Division II regional games went five or fewer innings, and three of four quarterfinal games were ended by the “mercy rule,” when the winner had outscored the loser by 10 or more runs.
The tournament format called for Select schools to hold quarterfinal games on April 26, with the semifinals and finals on April 28.
Winners like Mount Carmel, Dominican, St. Charles Catholic and Archbishop Hannan had to either rent motel rooms for two nights or drive 220 or more miles twice. Quite unfair.