The regular season has never meant more in McMinnville Youth Baseball and Softball league play. In an effort to get leagues completed before the start of Cal Ripken All-Star tournaments, Civic Center officials have decided to make all tournaments single elimination and only the top four teams from each league will be included in postseason play.
New athletic coordinator Kevin Roberts cites the league’s ties with Cal Ripken – which has some district tournaments beginning as soon as June 18 – as a reason for this year’s tournament format.
“It really hamstrings us to have to get the games done early,” said Roberts. “In some of our leagues, we’re only playing eight regular-season games. It’s unfortunate we’re so limited by that, but being Cal Ripken limits us to their time constraints.”
Some of the effects could be minimal – only three leagues have more than four teams. For three teams in the boys 7-8 league and one team in the boys 9-10 and girls 9-10 leagues though, their final regular-season game will mark the end of the playing season.
It’s the first time in memory where teams will be omitted from postseason play.
Teams will be seeded by record and the top four teams in each league will advance. Along with tournaments getting started, leagues will have to start getting their all-star teams together in time for the district tournaments.
“We’re finishing the season so we can have everybody ready for postseason play. After all-star selections and tryouts, we’d like to give our teams at least a week of practice,” said Roberts.
All-star teams will be selected in different age groups, with boys playing in Cal Ripken tournaments across the Midstate. Roberts is hoping to place girls softball teams in NSA tournaments.
The postseason will go by quick with each league playing single-elimination contests. The hope is with each game eliminating a team, tournaments will go by quicker.
“We can’t go to a double-elimination format because what can be done in one week would take 2-3 weeks,” said Roberts.
T-ball will forego the tournament format and instead will play end-of-the-year bowl games.
Roberts is hopeful the quality of the leagues remains as solid as ever.
“We try to provide a good league for the kids,” said Roberts. “We want to be fair, help the children learn and develop and everybody have fun.”
Civic Center games were rained out Friday. Action is scheduled to resume Monday.