The MIAA baseball tournament will go through a sectional format one final time this spring, as approved last month by the Board of Directors and Tournament Management Committee.
With the subsequent approval of state semifinals and championship games to end the postseason, the MIAA baseball committee Wednesday voted unanimously to use coin flips to determine which sections would host those final two rounds.
As part of the approval of the tournament format, the change needs to go through the TMC, which voted last month that overall record would determine host schools for all postseason games, including the state semifinals and finals.
Committee chair Jay Costa, the athletic director at Shrewsbury, recommended the flips be done the day of the seeding meeting, so that schools and tournament directors would be able to prepare in advance. Oxford coach Justin Richards also suggested games could be balanced between North vs. South, and Central vs. West.
In past years, neutral state tournament venues meant coin flips for dugouts and batting order were conducted on-site between the teams. The added layer this spring is that one of the participating teams will host each game.
Committee members questioned whether awarding sites to a higher seed, or better record, was a fair way to do it — for example, a No. 2 seed in one region could have a better record than a No. 1 seed from another.
“It’s not necessarily apples to apples,” Pembroke principal Marc Talbot said. “The coin flip, to me, is the best way to do it.”
In other committee business:
▪ Acting on a concern from the Mass. Baseball Umpires Association, the committee unanimously voted to recommend a second umpire be allowed at pregame meetings at home plate. The baseball modifications approved last month by the Board of Directors state that pregame meetings should be “limited to one umpire and one coach from each team.”
The change needs to be approved by Sports Medicine, COVID-19 Task Force and the Board of Directors.
“It doesn’t make sense not to have the two umpires there, socially distanced,” officials representative Joe Cacciatore said, “so that everybody can get the ground rules. We don’t want the [one umpire] making a mistake, telling the other umpire something that wasn’t said.”
▪ The committee unanimously approved the TMC recommendation of a five-run cap on margin of victory for the MIAA power ratings system, which will be used to seed statewide tournaments beginning in the fall.
Jim Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.