ELYRIA — Persistent light rain forced postponement of the 32-team ASA state tournament after one round of pool play Friday night at the West Park softball complex.
The second round, also scheduled for Friday, will not be rescheduled, said tournament director Garry Mason. Instead, the double-elimination round for players 18 and under is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. today. Friday’s 16 winners have been seeded and paired with the 16 losers on a tiebreaker system that included calculating fewest runs allowed.
“The 32nd seed is the team that gave up the most runs,” Mason said. “For tiebreakers, we had a coin flip.”
Elimination play will continue Sunday, also starting at 8 a.m., with the championship game scheduled for about 6 p.m. The top four teams qualify for the ASA nationals in Florida next month.
The national qualifier has attracted 1,500 to 2,000 players, coaches, family and other spectators to Elyria for the weekend and there are no hotel rooms left in the city, Mason said. He added that some who came to town had to book lodging in other nearby communities and that local restaurants did a brisk business.
No Lorain County teams are in the field, although there are some local connections.
Elyria High pitcher Caitlyn Minney is playing on a team from the Akron-Canton area.
And former Pioneers first baseman-slugger Caitlin Myor is coaching a team of players from western Cuyahoga and Medina counties.
The postponement washed out a huge early morning effort by the Elyria Parks and Recreation Department maintenance staff.
“These fields drain quickly, but the work those guys did to get them ready was almost a miracle,” Mason said. “I heard we had about six inches of rain here in the last two days and this morning there was water everywhere. You can still see standing water, but not on the fields. They’re in great shape.”
The Ohio ASA awarded the tournament to the Elyria Tournament Softball Committee, which includes the Parks and Recreation Department, in January 2012. In January this year, the committee was awarded the state tournament for U10 and U12 teams in June 2014.
Preparations for this weekend’s tournament began in January, Mason said.
“We got the message out that we were hosting the tournament over the ASA’s Web sites and several other Web sites,” he said. “Bill Troyer (Lorain County softball commissioner) and I put it all together. The 32 teams have worked out pretty well for us. It gives us eight pools of four teams. If we had many more teams, we would have had to use other fields.”
Mason said in that case, the diamonds at the Elyria High on Griswold Road complex and the Elyria Catholic varsity field would have been used.
“This way, everything stays right here. Nobody has to drive anywhere,” he said.
Mason said Greg Paonessa, longtime former Lorain County softball commissioner, came out of retirement to handle registration and maintain brackets and scores. In addition, Troyer, also a veteran umpire, is coordinating umpire assignments. Both are involved with Mason in the seeding process.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.