Pitching-rich Wave grabs No. 5 seed
GREENFIELD, MA (April 5, 2013) Greenfield High School Vs Southwick. In the first game of the season pitcher Mike Duclos. Photo by Beth Reynolds
Frontier 4/26/13. Frontier's pitcher #3 , steps off the rubber to deliver the ball to the plate.
photo by J. Anthony Roberts
NORTHAMPTON — Hampshire League champion Greenfield High School was awarded the fifth seed in the WMass Division II Baseball Tournament Tuesday evening at Northampton High School.
The Green Wave was one of five local teams to learn their fates and Greenfield will be joined in Division II by Athol High School, which earned the 11th and final seed in the bracket.
For the second straight season, Monument Mountain Regional High School earned the top seed in Division II with a 15-5 record. Mt. Greylock Regional High School (16-3) collected the second seed, and Palmer High School (14-6) picked up the third seed.
Greenfield (16-4) received a first-round bye with the fifth seed but will have to travel to fourth-seeded South Hadley High School in the quarterfinals. South Hadley finished 6-14 overall, playing a mainly Division I schedule, and got in under the 70 percent rule, which states that if 70 percent of a team’s schedule is against a higher division, a team must win 50 percent of its games against teams in its own division or lower. Green Wave coach Tom Suchanek was not thrilled to have to travel to play a game against a team that won 10 less games, but said it’s simply the nature of the beast when teams are ranked according to the Walker 2.0 System, which accounts for strength of schedule, wins vs. tournament teams and overall record. While South Hadley had the toughest strength of schedule of any Division II team, Greenfield had the worst, because it plays in a Hampshire League primarily comprised of Division III teams. Greenfield played three independents against Division II teams and a third against a Division III team.
South Hadley is the reigning WMass and state Division II champion after qualifying for the postseason last spring with a 7-13 record. The Tigers won five postseason games en route to the state championship, making them the first-ever team to win a state title with a losing record.
Athol High School (10-10) had to win its final three games of the regular season to get into the postseason and the Red Raiders will have to travel to another team with a losing record when they travel to sixth-seeded Belchertown High School for a first-round game Thursday at 4. The Orioles, who also qualified under the 70 percent rule, have undergone some changes lately after coach John Mayo quit amid a fire storm of controversy involving a parent. When Mayo did not receive support from the Belchertown superintendent, he resigned from both his baseball and football coaching duties. Athol, meanwhile, is hoping to ride the waves of a late-season winning streak into the tournament as it did last season, when it won four straight games to get in, then won its first-round game against Greenfield.
Hampshire League runner-up Frontier Regional School (14-6) will try to get back to the WMass Division III championship game this season after earning the third seed out of 16 teams in that bracket.
Bi-County League champion Monson High School earned the top Division III seed with a 14-4 record, while St. Joseph’s-Central High School earned the second seed at 14-6. Both teams finished ahead of Frontier based on their strength of schedule. Tri-County League North champion St. Mary High School (18-2) took fourth, while Smith Academy (17-3) placed fifth.
Frontier will open up against 14th-seeded Putnam Vocational-Technical High School, which went 12-8 in the Tri-County South, which is considered the weakest league in western Mass. Those teams will play Thursday afternoon at 4 at Valiton Field. Should Frontier win, it would set up a potential quarterfinal match against HL opponent Turners Falls High School, which collected the sixth seed with a 14-6 record and will take on 11th-seeded Granby High School (14-6) in the first round Thursday afternoon at 2 at the Bourdeau Fields Complex in Turners Falls. Granby finished third in the TCL-North.
The third and final local team in the Division III field is Mahar Regional School, which finished 11-9 overall and earned the ninth seed. Mahar will have to travel to eighth-seeded Ware High School (11-9) Thursday at 4.
For a complete look at the Division II and III fields see the Scoreboard on Page B2.