Pine Island Still Alive In Tournament
The Pine Island Legion team is still hanging around in the Third District American Legion Baseball Tournament in Cannon Falls. They defeated Belle Plaine 8-3 and Plato 12-8 Saturday and play Giant Valley at 1pm today with the winner playing Plato for the championship. No team has ever come all the way through the loser’s bracket to win this tournament. Pine Island has reeled off 5 straight wins and outscored those teams 41-16. In other games Saturday Norwood beat Sibley East 4-0 then lost to Giant Valley 7-3 and the winner’s bracket contest was a thriller, with Plato winning in walk-off fashion 4-3 over Giant Valley. Plato’s top pitcher hurt his arm Saturday so if they can win the Giant Valley game Pine Island probably won’t have to face him. Again Saturday, I visited with a number of people who are bewildered by the bracketing of the tournament. It’s the same as last year when Pine Island was sitting where Plato is today. A fellow broadcaster said he had to look at the bracket a number of times before he figured it out. In my mind you reward teams for winning in a tournament not losing. Pine Island beats Plato last night and then Plato waits to see who wins between Pine Island and Giant Valley and plays in the championship game. Why? A coach told me they were in the winner’s bracket longest. So what ? All three teams have one loss. They are all the same at this point. There was absolutely no incentive for Plato to win the game with Pine Island because they are already in the championship game. You are not going to throw one of your top pitchers in what to them is a meaningless game. In fact I would argue the incentive is really not to win that game. Again, they are already in the Championship if they lose and if they win they have the possibility of playing two games the next day. I’m not saying they tried to lose, but there is certainly no incentive to win. Last year Pine Island is where Plato is this year and their Head Coach, looking at the bracket said what I just outlined. If we lose we are in the championship and play one game to get to state. If I save my top two arms I feel pretty good about my chances after two other teams duke it out to get to my team. Those teams have no guarantee to get to the championship and have to throw one of their top pitchers to get there. You NEVER tell your team not to try to win, but your odds are better playing one game than two if you have the best pitchers right ? You just don’t throw your best arms and they have a little more rest. A coach told me they don’t like the team coming from the elimination bracket having to beat the winner’s bracket team twice in order to get to state. It’s a double elimination tournament ! If you don’t like that then make it single elimination ! After Plato beat Giant Valley Saturday they should’ve waited to see who came out of the elimination bracket. Pine Island should’ve played Norwood and the winner would play Giant Valley to determine who plays Plato on Sunday for the championship. That way you are always rewarding teams for winning in the tournament. There is NEVER an incentive to lose.