A Second District baseball game between Paducah Tilghman and St. Mary at Brooks Stadium that was to be played March 25 - but was postponed because of the cold - will still decide whom the district winner will be. It just may not be in the way the teams involved, including McCracken County, would have hoped.
Coaches and administrators at Tilghman and St. Mary have said they have done everything possible to get the game played, but because of numerous scheduling conflicts they were not able to find a date.
According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and Wunderground.com, the high on March 25 was 45 degrees and .01 inches of precipitation (snow) fell. Weather-underground.com had the wind chill at 4:53 p.m. - seven minutes before the scheduled 5 p.m. start time - at 35.7 degrees and dropping to 28.6 degrees at 7:53 p.m.
"On that date, the wind chill was in the 20s," Tilghman coach Chris Johnson said. "So me being worried about my players early in the season, I'm not going to play in 20 degree wind chill. There were other games canceled on that day in the region, and there were college games canceled on that day. So why should we play on that day?
"We were supposed to play that Tuesday and that Tuesday I talked to him and told them we could play that Thursday. He gave two dates only that he could play, and those days were right after we played McCracken both times."
St. Mary coach Matt Smith said: "The temperature was around 42 to 45 degrees around game time, and I didn't understand it, but it is what it is. I had gotten back to him for a couple of dates initially and he didn't like those dates. He came back with a couple of others, but we had a Holy Day on one of them and had something going on the other date where players had something going on and they already had things set to be gone that day. Then we had dates for April 9 and 10 and April 23 and 24, I believe, and he never got back to me about those dates. It just never worked out, and that's kind of where we are at."
Smith continued, "We absolutely feel like we've done everything to play this game. As far as the communication back and forth, I feel like we should have played on the 25th. With the dates I thought would work, he obviously didn't. We had conflicts with other dates he brought up and that's where we are at."
At issue is seeding for next week's district tournament and the automatic berths the top two teams from each district receive for the First Region Baseball Tournament. All district baseball games need to be played by Wednesday, according to the KHSAA Calendar of Events.
"Schools have until Wednesday, May 14 to complete seeded games," KHSSA Associate Commissioner Butch Cope said in an email to the Sun. "The competition rules list that any game that can't be played for whatever reason by the date will be counted as a win and a loss for seeding purposes. Our office has been in contact with representatives of the three schools clarifying the situation and seeking opportunities to complete the seeded game. We have had situations in the past when a game was not able to be played and thus the counting of the game as both a win and a loss was the result. Ideally, the goal is for the games to be played and the seedings decided on the field."
If the game is not played, St. Mary (2-1 in 2nd District) would be the top seed for the district tournament because of a better district record. McCracken County (2-2, 2nd District), as No. 2 seed, and Tilghman (1-2, 2nd District), as the No. 3 seed, would play the first-round game to decide who would move on to play St. Mary in the district championship game.
The winner between Tilghman and McCracken would get the other automatic spot into the region tournament by advancing to the championship game. Then whoever won the championship game would get the appropriate seeding for the region tournament, with the district champion being the top seed and playing the second seed from either the First, Third or Fourth Districts, after a draw to determine the region bracket, and the second seed playing the top seed from the First, Third or Fourth Districts.
If Tilghman and St. Mary play the previously scheduled game and Tilghman wins, there would be a three-way tie in the Second District with all teams being 2-2 and McCracken County would be the top seed according to the policy concerning tiebreakers in three-team districts laid out in the KHSAA Competition Rules Governing Baseball. If all teams are tied McCracken County would have the advantage in "total points allowed in all seeded games."
Tilghman principal Art Davis believes the matter should be settled on the field.
"Frankly, the issue for us is we want to resolve the game that was canceled and they are in a position to where if we don't play this game then they win the district straight out," Davis said. "KHSAA does not have any rule that would force them to play the game if you have a game that is canceled because of weather. In this situation, this team will be the district champion without resolving it on the field, and that's where the problem is."
Said St. Mary A.D. Brad Ehlers: "This week, we were supposed to play Ballard (Monday), but that was just canceled due to weather. We have a home game (Tuesday) against Carlisle and then Wednesday is our high school awards night and that's the last day we could do it. So we gave them three or four dates that they asked for to make the game up, but none worked for them and unfortunately, we weren't able to get those in."
McCracken County has allowed only four runs in its four district games, while St. Mary has allowed eight in its three games and Tilghman has allowed 13 in its three.
So if the game were played between Tilghman and St. Mary, Tilghman would have to win by more than six runs to jump up to the second seed. Anything less than that and Tilghman would be the third seed and St. Mary the second seed.
"It's just an unfortunate situation," McCracken County coach Geno Miller said. "There's a lot of question marks as to why the game is not being played. When you get into a situation where you are this close to the postseason, seeding and championships, those things are supposed to be decided by competition and not through technicalities."
Miller continued, "The situation needs to be decided on the field, but situations like this can cause problems in other areas. I think stuff like this can carry over to other sports and causes hard feelings. It's just unfortunate for the kids that the game is not being decided on the field. When you lead a group of young men, you're supposed to lead them by example and with integrity and you're supposed to do the right thing."
If the game were played and St. Mary won, it still would be the regular season district champ because of its 3-1 record.
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow on Twitter @psunsports.
KHSAA Competition Rules Governing Baseball Tie-breaker procedures for three-team districts
Paragraph 2-e and 2-f in the KHSAA Competition Rules Governing Baseball lists the criteria for tie-breakers for three-team districts:
e) In the case of a three-way tie for the district winning position, the tie would be resolved in the following manner. If any of the tie-breakers results in one of the teams being ahead of the other two, the tie is broken. If any of the tie-breakers result in two teams remaining ahead of the third, then the two-way tie breaker shall be used to determine the winner between those two.
(1) In districts that have decided to play each other only once in district play, the tie shall be broken by blind draw. The team drawn first in the draw shall be considered the highest seed (one seed).
(2) In districts that have decided to play each other twice in district play, the tie-breaking mechanisms (in order) shall be:
a. If the tie remains between all three teams, the record in the second game played against all district opponents involved in the tie.
b. If the tie remains between all three teams, the record in the first game played against all district opponents involved in the tie.
c. If the tie remains between all three teams, then the total points allowed in all seeded games shall be the next tie-breaker.
d. If the tie remains between all three teams, then the total points allowed in the second of each of the seeded games shall be the next tie-breaker.
e. If the tie is still unbreakable, then a blind draw among the three teams shall break the tie. In this case, the team drawn first in the draw shall be considered the highest seed (one seed)
f. Additional tie-breaking mechanisms could be added, and would be uniform for all three-team districts.
f) In the event of game re-scheduling or cancellation, the original game schedule shall determine which game is "second" for tie-breaking purposes.