(5-12-17) The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) board of directors could vote on June 1st on a proposal that would extend the baseball and softball seasons by two weeks starting in 2019.
The 2019 season for baseball and softball, if the proposal passes, would be scheduled to start March 23, the ending date would be the state tournament June 13-15. Ohio schools are presently allowed this season to play regular season games until June 10th, but many end their season after a tournament loss or shortly after that. The extension would allow two weeks more of the regular season to be played before the tournament starts.
In the past unpredictable weather conditions were the main concern, with the new pitch count rule starting this year, many felt it would be important to extend the season with scheduling of pitchers during the season. The adjustment this year for coaches has been a learning situation.
Baseball coaches from around the area tell us what they see in the possible extension of the season.
Celina Head Coach Andy Mikesell:
Parkway Head Coach Luke Clouse:
People a lot smarter than me make those decisions. I will show up and play on the days my schedule says. If we can stretch the season out, of course you could pitch your top pitchers more. Is that good for baseball or bad for baseball I don’t know.
Defiance Hall of Fame Coach Tom Held gave us five reasons why he likes the proposal:
Number one reason is the pitch count, which in return is the health of the pitcher. If the Feds think pitch count is the reason for arm injuries, then the extension of the season is essential.
Number 2. – Weather
Number 3 – quality of the game at the HS level would be much stronger as you can pitch 3-4 guys at each of your level’s and be competitive with a pitch count and an extended season.
Number 4. able to finish your regular season before tournament.
Number 5 – Practice time. Once the season starts, we only average one practice a week on our ball field.
Held’s cousin Tim (Held), who is a graduate of Bryan, is the Head Coach at national power Cincinnati Moeller, he told wcpo.com:
“I’m glad they are moving forward with it. I think it will be better for the pitchers and will allow more competitive games throughout the season and it will also allow us to practice during our season.”
Not everyone is on board with the move, in the same wcpo.com story, Lakota West Athletic Director Scott Kaufman and is a member of the Southwest District Athletic Board says:
“Personally, I do not support extending the baseball season.”
“Going into mid-June, when most school years are ending in mid-May now, is a bit much for me.”
Ohio’s present state tournament dates are one of the earliest of surrounding states. Illinois, separates their state tournament dates, their 1A and 2A tournament is the same weekend as Ohio. The 3A and 4A Illinois tournament is one week later.
Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky all have the same state tournament schedules, June 16-17. The extension, if passed, would put Ohio on the same schedule.
2017 State Play-off Dates
June 1-3 State Tournament (regular season ends June 10th)
Class 1A & 2A: Friday & Saturday, June 2-3, 2017
Class 3A & 4A: Friday & Saturday, June 9-10, 2017
All Four classes – Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17
MHSAA Semifinals – June 15-16
MHSAA Finals – June 17
The weather is the main concern in softball, but there is no pitch count and most softball pitchers can go to the circle whenever needed.
So why should the softball season also be extended?
OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Jerry Snodgrass told WCPO.com:
“The reason for this is that so many schools schedule their baseball and softball games at the same sites for transportation reason. Going away from that could be expensive to schools and a scheduling dilemma.”
In Northwest Ohio the change would have some effects on the ACME baseball summer program and scheduling would have to be adjusted, other summer travel team programs would also get players later in the season than they currently do.