Baseball: Russia rewarded with top seed in D-IV sectional


By Jack Kramer
For the Sidney Daily News

Here are some “no brainers”— plus several “head scratchers” to figure out.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association and its six district boards are on top of most things, but have a few to sort through as another statewide baseball tournament kicks off on Monday.

First, kudos for the baseball seed process. The coaches, not the computers as in basketball, seeded the schools and provided the order in which they placed themselves on the brackets.

And the coaches proved their worth, as usual. Despite having an awesome 18-2 mark at the tourney draw and the best record of all Division IV programs in the southwest Ohio super-sectional, Newton received seed No. 3, behind Russia, 16-4 at the draw, and behind Fort Loramie, 17-4. Russia owns a 5-3 comeback victory over the Redskins.

A computer formula, with heavy weight on wins and losses and less emphasis on strength of schedule and who’s hot and who’s not in May, might have parked the Indians on the very top seed line.

In baseball, the “D-IV programs’ coaches” got it right, because a “computer program” wasn’t given a chance.

But think about this for a moment. If all the available technology, like zoom, for instance, was put to good use, perhaps the draw is held several days from now, and not last weekend. Weather permitting, Newton is scheduled to travel to Fort Loramie on Tuesday. That contest could have gone a long way in more accurately determining the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, if played prior to the draw.

So, why can’t “seeding Sunday” be nearly a full week later? Surely, this can be figured out in the future.

By the way, No. 1 seed Russia hosts No. 24 seed Triad; No. 2 seed Fort Loramie is home to the Jackson Center/Catholic Central winner; and Newton entertains the Botkins/Yellow Springs winner. Bradford, the No. 4 seed, has a home date with either Tri-Village or Riverside. These tilts for the first four seeds are set for Wednesday, May 15.

Lehman and Troy Christian square off on May 15, as well. Lehman earned the No. 8 seed; Houston, No. 15; Fairlawn, No. 16; Jackson Center, No. 19; and Botkins, No. 21.

And, yes, it’s possible once again for Russia and Fort Loramie to square off in a regional championship with a berth at Akron on the line. The two clubs did so in 2021 and 2022, and split the pair.

But, if this Raiders-Redskins matchup occurs, where is it played? Last June this D-IV regional was held at two locations — Springfield’s Carleton-Davidson Stadium, the home of Wittenberg University and the Champion City Kings, and Nischwitz Stadium at Wright State University in Fairborn.

Would you believe that for the second straight season the Kings are slated to play in Springfield on the second day of the scheduled OHSAA regional. In fact, Friday, May 31, marks the Kings’ home opener. So, as a result, this D-IV regional is without a home and might as well be listed as IDK.

Two years ago, vandals reportedly broke into parked cars in lots across the road from the site of the D-IV regional in Hamilton County. A return there would be very surprising.

For your information, a Cincinnati sectional winner in D-IV is added to the five winners from the northern part of the Southwest Region to complete pairings for three district championships at neutral sites. This southern sectional champ is in line to meet the Russia section winner in a district tussle.

In the “strange but true, figure-it-out” category, the school in the eight-team South 1 Section with the best winning percentage of .600 at the draw, was Riverview East… at 3-2. This begs a serious question. Has there been that much rain? Really?

In D-III, No. 7 seed Anna hosts No. 14 Northeastern on May 13. The Rockets are in the same section as No. 1 seed Versailles. The two clubs could collide on May 20 in a district semifinal.

In D-I, the No. 14 seed Sidney Yellow Jackets drew No. 15 Springfield, which owns a triumph over Centerville. Fairmont and Vandalia-Butler, the No. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively, also appear in this loaded Sidney bracket.

Speaking of strong sectionals, No. 1 seed Minster may have to knock out three straight Midwest Athletic Conference opponents in a stacked Coldwater D-IV District. A supersectional combining Coldwater with the Findlay or Hamler district might be in order moving forward.

In the state’s D-IV East district, a pair of highly ranked programs — Berlin Hiland and Toronto — chose to tangle in a district semifinal, and not the final.

Go figure. Maybe one program — looking for a psychological edge — decided to pick off the other a game sooner than usual.

This D-IV East District champion joins two winners from Southeast Districts I and II along with a fourth school and representative from the Galion Northwest District to complete the four-team regional at Lancaster. Make sense?

Well, try another one on for size. The No. 2 seed Lancaster Fairfield Christian Academy participates in the single Central District tourney, and, if it advances, it’s not sent to Lancaster, but to the TBA Southwest Region location.

IDK about this either.

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