45th District baseball coaches change scheduling format

March 09, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

This spring's head-to-head matchups in high school baseball's 45th District will have a lot less meaning, but a lot more intrigue.

The district's four coaches voted unanimously to change the district's postseason format. One of them says the change was made because three of the coaches were outraged by practices at the fourth school. But the fourth coach said the decision will be a good competitive move for all of the district's teams.

"It makes it easier on your scheduling," Danville coach Paul Morse said.

But scheduling wasn't on the mind of Lincoln coach Jimmy Hill, who said Morse and his program are the reason he voted as he did and the reason he won't play Danville during the regular season.

"The reason I really backed that was because I really don't care for Danville and their program, top to bottom," Hill said.


Two players from Lincoln transferred to Danville after the 2002 season, and Hill said the departures were due to the players' ties to the Morse Baseball Academy, where Morse offers private instruction.

"They got two starters from my team and two from Boyle County," Hill said.

Morse dismissed Hill's argument.

"That's his opinion. He can say whatever he wants," Morse said. "Kids left to go other places, not just to Danville, so it must have been something internally."

Boyle coach David Camic said the move of the two players from Boyle to Danville wasn't related that.

"I hated to lose those two players, but I know the reason they left, and I don't think either one had to do with the baseball program at Boyle County," he said.

Whatever their reasons, the coaches agreed last spring to discontinue seeding the district tournament. Individual districts can choose at any time to seed their tournament or end seeding by a majority vote, with the result taking effect the following season.

Number of regular-season district games reduced to eight

Because there won't be seeding, the four teams don't have to play each other during the season and tournament pairings will be set by a blind draw. The result is that the number of regular-season district games has been reduced from 12 to eight, and all of the games that were eliminated were Danville games.

"In the past you had to save Tuesdays and Thursdays for district games, and you were kind of in a bind if you played in a (weekend invitational) tournament because you had to use a pitcher in the district game," Morse said.

Morse said it also means that teams won't have to cancel non-district games late in the season to make up district games that were rained out, and he said it eliminates the age-old coaches' concern about trying to beat a rival three times in one season. Danville tried and failed to do that last year, losing to Lincoln in the district tournament after winning both regular-season meetings.

Casey County coach Jimmy Brown said that's consistent with the discussion that took place before the vote.

"What I remember of it, it was mainly about not having to worry about scheduling," Brown said.

"We're free to play anybody we want to play," Camic added.

Brown said there was no discussion of the coaches' issues with Danville.

"Nothing was brought up in the meeting," he said.

But Brown would not say whether there was such a discussion at any time before the meeting.

However, Hill said Brown, Camic and he had their minds made up.

"When it came up (in the meeting), it was already three people in the room that had decided," Hill said.

"He might see it that way, but it was a unanimous vote," Morse said.

Lincoln won't play Danville this season

Lincoln won't play Danville this season unless the two teams are paired in the postseason, and Hill said that probably won't change any time soon.

"That'll be bad blood for a while," Hill said. "I'm not a fan of Paul Morse, and I never will be."

"I don't really have any comment on that," Morse said. "If (not playing is) getting back at us, that's fine."

Boyle and Casey will play one game each against Danville, while Boyle, Casey and Lincoln will continue to play home-and-home series with each other.

Casey's Brown said his team is playing Danville only once because there were few scheduling options left by the time he and Morse reached each other, not because of any beef he has with Danville.

"That's between them," Brown said, referring to the other coaches.

Camic, who coached Morse during his high school career at Danville, said he has no feud with Morse.

"I don't think so," he said. "I coached Paul for six years. But when we play, I want to win."

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