Wave behind Tigers ... again
Greenfield will probably go as far as ace Garrett Hudson takes it this year in the postseason. The Green Wave is seeded No. 6 in the WMass Division III Baseball Tournament. Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »
Greenfield High School baseball coach Tom Suchanek claims he was not upset on Tuesday afternoon, but the 42-year baseball coach has to be scratching his head to trying comprehend what he and his Green Wave must do to get a higher seed than South Hadley High School.
The Green Wave defeated the Tigers twice this season, finished with a better overall record and won the HL West Division (while South Hadley came in third), but Greenfield (No. 6) still finished a seed below South Hadley (No. 5) when the WMass Division III Baseball Tournament seeds were announced at Northampton High School.
The Green Wave has for years found itself behind South Hadley when it comes to the seedings, despite usually sporting a superior record. The reason was always because the Tigers played a predominately Division I schedule. But this season the Tigers were moved into the HL West Division, setting up a pair of regular-season meetings with Greenfield and a chance to measure both teams on a level playing field. Well, apparently that didn’t matter. Greenfield (14-6) had a better record than South Hadley (13-7), finished higher in the standings and, go figure, beat the Tigers both times the teams met. But because South Hadley had played several independent games against Division I opponents, it moved the Tigers ahead of Greenfield in the seedings. Suchanek said it did not bother him.
“The seed is just a starting point,” he began. “After that, you still have to play the games. I never liked being a high seed because it paints a target on your back.”
The baseball tournaments underwent realignment this season and there is no longer a western Mass. Division II. The former Division II teams are now all in Division III, while a number of former Division III teams (like Frontier Regional School and Mahar Regional School) remained in Division III. The rest of the former Division III field is now Division IV.
The Division III field is 13-teams deep, including five Recorder-area teams. Monument Mountain Regional High School (15-3) and Drury High School (14-6) are the top two seeds, while Greenfield is the top local team at No. 6. The Green Wave is the only local team in the field with a home game. Greenfield will host 11th-seeded Hoosac Valley Regional School (9-9) on Thursday afternoon at 3:30. Frontier Regional School (12-8) picked up the ninth seed, and the young Red Hawk squad will travel to eighth-seeded Wahconah Regional High School (10-10) Thursday at 4. Mahar (12-8) earned the 10th seed and will head to seventh-seeded Mt. Greylock Regional High School Thursday at 4. Athol High School (11-9), which wound up winning the HL East Division as somewhat of a surprise, only earned the 12th-seed and will have to travel to South Hadley Thursday afternoon at 3:30. Mohawk Trail Regional High School (11-9) picked up the 13th and final seed, which sends it on the road to fourth-seeded Palmer High School (17-3) Friday night at 6.
The Division IV field is 16 teams deep and includes just one local team: Turners Falls High School, which qualified under the 70 percent rule. Because the Indians only played five games against Division IV teams this season, it needed to only win half of them in order to automatically qualify. The Indians wound up finishing 4-1 against those teams, so despite having a 9-11 record overall and tying for last in the HL West, the Indians made the tournament.
And because the Indians play such a strong schedule, it helped them out in the seeds and Turners Falls picked up the fifth seed. The Indians open at home Thursday afternoon at 2 against 12th-seeded Putnam Vocational High School.
Smith Academy (11-7) picked up the top seed in Division IV and was followed by Gateway Regional High School (12-8), Hopkins Academy (9-9) and Granby High School (14-6).
For a full look at the brackets, check out the Scoreboard page. All times are subject to change as schools are still trying to schedule games around end-of-the-year events like proms, senior nights and awards nights.