To steal a line from the old Chiffon margarine television commercial - "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature'' - players and coaches from area high school baseball and softball teams might wonder if they've done something to anger the old gal.
Sectional, district and some league playoff tournament games have already fallen victim to the recent wave of rain in northwest Ohio, and this week's forecast promises to cause further havoc.
That forecast calls for more rain today through Thursday, which would further saturate already unplayable diamonds throughout the area.
The City League softball playoff semifinals - Clay versus Start and Notre Dame versus St. Ursula - were postponed on Saturday, Sunday and last night. Because of the district tournament schedule, the CL semis have been pushed back to 7 p.m. Friday at Detwiler. If those games can be played as scheduled, the CL title game is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Monday at Detwiler.
Before then, however, the Division I district semifinals and finals - St. Ursula versus Whitmer and Notre Dame versus Southview - are supposed to be played today and Thursday at Rolf Park in Maumee. Any postponement of the D-I district final on Thursday, if it involves Notre Dame or St. Ursula, would further disrupt the CL playoff schedule.
This situation is actually better than the status of the City League baseball playoffs and D-I district tournament games set for this week.
Last night's scheduled D-I district semis at Skeldon Stadium - St. Francis de Sales versus Northview and St. John's Jesuit versus Clay - were postponed and rescheduled for today at 5 p.m. and 7:30, respectively. All but Northview, a member of the NLL, are still in contention for CL playoff berths.
The CL semifinals were actually impacted before the four-team field could be determined. League officials had arranged to play the semifinals at Fifth Third Field tomorrow at 5 and
7:30 p.m., and return there for the championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. But the recent rain has forced Fifth Third Field officials to rescind that commitment for danger of damaging the Toledo Mud Hens' home field.
That pullout caused a move of the baseball semifinals to Skeldon Stadium Thursday at 5 and 7:30 p.m., with the title game now set for Scott Park at the University of Toledo on Sunday. But that's only if two-plus regular-season CL makeup games can even be played before Thursday to determine the league's four semifinal qualifiers.
As it stands, six teams still have a chance at berths and four of those are involved in the makeup schedule.
Whitmer (6-3 in CL play) must finish a suspended game with St. John's (8-2 CL), and play a full game against St. Francis (8-2). Also, Clay (7-3) has a full league makeup against Waite. Start (9-2) has already clinched a berth, and may wind up as the top seed, and Central Catholic (8-3) has also completed its CL schedule but is awaiting the outcome of the Whitmer makeup games to see if it earns a playoff berth.
Whitmer was leading its game at St. John's 8-5, but St. John's was batting in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out and runners on second and third base. That game is set to be resumed tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Skeldon Stadium, after which Whitmer is set to play its full game against St. Francis. If Whitmer should win both games, and Clay defeats visiting Waite, that would make Start the first-place team and create a five-way tie for second place.
In this scenario, the league's tie-breaker format would eliminate both St. Francis and St. John's, who are potential district finalists. That would set the playoff matchups as Start versus Whitmer and Clay versus Central. If Whitmer loses to either St. John's or St. Francis in the makeup games, the Panthers would not gain a CL berth. That scenario would also eliminate Central, via the tie-breaker, unless Clay also lost to Waite.
Several other variables are less likely but possible.
If today's D-I district games are again washed out by rain and rescheduled to tomorrow, that would prevent the CL makeup games from being played in time to determine the semifinal field, and thus delay the playoffs until after the district games can be completed.
Adding another potential negative to an already gloomy outlook, Central still has to play its Division II sectional final against Eastwood (postponed three times). If the Irish advance, their district semifinal game versus Defiance could delay their potential CL semifinal game.
Although no other area league, outside of the CL, has a playoff format to determine its baseball and softball champions, the teams from all other area leagues which are still alive in baseball and softball tournament play are also being backed up by the weather.
Most notably in the Suburban Lakes League, third-ranked Genoa (11-1 SLL) and second-ranked Elmwood (11-1) have already postponed their league-title softball showdown from last Friday to this Saturday, and may also meet in a Thursday Division III district final. That's if they can each play and win their scheduled district semifinals today.
Likewise in baseball, fifth-ranked Genoa (12-0 SLL), Elmwood (10-2) and Eastwood (9-2) are all still in contention for the SLL title with games to be played against each other, and Genoa (D-III) and Eastwood are also still alive in tourney play.
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