State Board, Class B reps come to terms on state format

Posted on Feb. 22, 2015 by CJ Siewert

Class B team representatives and the State Board took a big step forward to improve the brand of ‘B’ baseball after an open, lengthy and ardent discussion involving the state tournament format.

Twenty-eight of the 46 Class B teams were represented at Saturday’s special meeting in St. Cloud, which called for a vote to determine the tourney format. The meeting was set after many Class B representatives voiced their displeasure with last season’s 16-team single elimination format.

After an hour-and-a-half dialogue, a vote was taken with three tournament format options:

1) 16-team single elimination

2) 16-team field with double elimination after first round

3) 8-team double elimination

The consensus was made clear; 27 out of 28 team reps wanted a 16-team field with an eight-team double elimination after the first round.

Before the vote was taken, though, each rep had the opportunity to speak. Not every team rep took advantage of the opportunity but many did, and some in a passionate way.

By the result of the vote, it’s obvious what each team rep said about what type of tournament format they would like to see. But since the dialogue was open the conversation also veered from the main point and into sub topics.

Note that since these sub topics detracted from the main topic at hand, no answers were completely fleshed out, but rather redirected the discussion to the state tourney format.

The question of why Super Sections were nixed was raised and discussed.

“Competitiveness will come out of those teams and they will improve because of Super Sections,” said Victoria manager Mike Poppitz. “Super Sections got you trim and ready because you were using your pitching. B teams are not one-trick ponies. By using single elimination you are riding one arm for a minimum of two weeks. You need to use more pitchers if you play twice on the weekend. Competiveness comes for the team itself. The true evaluation of what a team is when you’re going No. 2 pitcher against No. 2 or 3 against 4.”

The conversation also molded into a discussion about what criteria makes a team Class B or C.

“There are four C teams that are better than us in our own league,” said Jason Sokolowski of Albertville. “If we want to make B better, we need teams into B to make that tournament worth while. Look at some of these teams that should be playing B; why don’t they come up if they’ve been dominant for 10 years in C? We need 16 teams that should be there instead of a few good teams and then a B minus or C plus. Some of these C teams could make it to Class B state.”

It has also been well documented in past state tournaments that the third site was not favorable for those teams who played games at it.

“It’s a lot easier said than done,” Secretary Dave Hartmann said regarding teams complaints about the quality of the third site in recent years. “It just doesn’t generate as much revenue for the host sites, but St. Cloud isn’t going to be a problem this year.”

Joe Serratore of Austin felt the third site could be avoided more if the Class B tournament started the same weekend as Class C.

“If you seeded out the 16 teams in the sections and play single elimination the first weekend and then play double elimination the second weekend, then its all C on the last weekend,” Serratori said.

On multiple occasions, Board members said the tournament schedule has to be a factor when teams make a case for their opinions.

“If we add games, we have to start thinking about the ramifications,” said Vice President Fred Roufs. “We can make any format if everyone finds common ground when and where to play the games… We need to get together with the host sites to make sure they are ready for Thursday and Friday games.”

After discussing the impact on the schedule, it was clear the team reps wanted to keep the tournament to two weeks.

Nothing is set in stone, but it appears this year’s Class B state tournament will feature 16 teams with an eight-team double elimination after the first round. It will also take place over two weekends.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a few team reps took time to thank the Board for finding common ground and that they hope this a big step in improving Class B baseball.

Teams in attendance Saturday:

Austin Greyhounds – John Frein

Moorhead – Jeremy Peschel

Hastings – Shawn Matson

Red Wing – Dan Plein

Shakopee – Aaron Olson

Austin Blue Sox – Joe Serratore

Albertville – Jason Sokolowski

Isanti – Steve Allen

Hamel – Tim Flemming

Sauk Rapids – Dan Lynch

Ramsey – Ben Poidinger

Rochester – Kevin Ness

Blaine – Dan Powell

Elk River – Ken Ott

Monticello – Joe Kunkel

East Bethel – Dallas Jelmberg

Victoria – Mike Poppitz

Rogers – Aaron Cook

Forest Lake – Adam Gallatin

Chaska – Bill Franzen

Coon Rapids – Jeff Lundstrom

St. Cloud – Brian Anderson

Cold Spring – Tim Illing

Elko – Terry Fredrickson

Marshall – Harry Wielage

Anoka – JD Wells

Savage – Travis Petersen

St. Michael – Mike Friske

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