Weather OK so far for spring season
Don’t tell anyone you heard this from me — I don’t want to be accused of jinxing things — but the weather for the high school spring sports season in 2019 has been downright decent.
That has made for some busy evenings in our sports department, but we are OK with that as we try to cover as much as we can. It also limits those times when schools change the location of scheduled games and we don’t find out until we show up to a junior varsity game.
The fact that postponements have been reduced to some degree this spring is a big help for baseball and softball coaches as tournament time approaches. Schools make every effort to make up postponed league games and some of those makeup dates fall after tournament play has started — sometimes even after a team has been eliminated.
Coaches would rather their team be focused on tournament games once May rolls around, so the fact most teams have been able to play most of their games is a plus.
And speaking of postseason play, this is the first season that softball and baseball are on a staggered tournament schedule, similar to girls basketball and boys basketball.
The softball brackets are scheduled to be released next Sunday after coaches in northeast Ohio vote online for seeding purposes.
Softball sectional games — played at the home site of the better-seeded team — are scheduled the week of May 6-11. District games are the following week, the same week baseball holds its sectional games.
Area softball teams will play in district tournaments at Solon (Division I), Youngstown State (Division II except Lakeview which plays at Jefferson), LaBrae and South Range (Division III) and Candlelight Knolls and Jackson-Milton (Division IV).
Baseball district tournaments are scheduled May 20-25 and area teams will play at Canton or Hudson (Division I), Cene Park (Division II except Lakeview which plays at Gilmour Academy), Niles (Division III except for Ursuline which plays at Cene Park) and Fairport Harbor and Cene Park (Division IV).
Boys tennis starts tournament play the same week as softball (May 6-11) with sectional competition. In Division I, Warren G. Harding and Howland play at Solon and Austintown Fitch and Boardman are at Canton. All area Division II teams play at Boardman.
The tennis district tournaments are at Springside Racque & Fitness Club in Akron May 17-18.
Track and field has two parts to its postseason, with league meets being scheduled the week of May 6-11 and district competition following the next week.
In Division I, area teams compete in both the district and regional meets at Austintown Fitch. Most area Division II schools are at Lakeview and the area’s Division III schools are divided between Cuyahoga Heights and Springfield Local.
Some area teams and individuals will reach the pinnacle of high school sports, the state tournament, where the Mahoning Valley has an excellent history of success.
The boys tennis state tournament is at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason the weekend of May 24-25.
The following weekend, softball’s state tournament is scheduled May 30-June 1 at Firestone Stadium in Akron, and the track and field state meet is May 31-June 1 at the Ohio State University.
The big change this spring is in baseball which will hold its state competition June 6-8 at Canal Park in Akron.
When the OHSAA pushed baseball’s tournament back a week, it created a scheduling conflict with the Columbus Clippers who play at Huntington Park in Columbus, the previous site of the high school state tournament.
So, the OHSAA worked with the Akron Rubber Ducks and both the softball and baseball state tournaments will be played in northeast Ohio.
And hopefully, the weather will continue to cooperate.