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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

High school teams that can’t go .500 should be out of postseason

George Scione

It’s not my intention to beat a dead horse. In fact, I would never harm an animal unless in self defense – that fisher cat in our backyard better be on notice.

So should the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. ...

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It’s not my intention to beat a dead horse. In fact, I would never harm an animal unless in self defense – that fisher cat in our backyard better be on notice.

So should the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association.

It’s seriously time to stop worrying about giving everybody a trophy, or in the case of Granite State high school postseason play, a chance to waste time, gas and money on a road trip to slaughter.

Yes, occasionally there will be an upset of epic proportions.

Occasionally.

A championship tournament becomes a farcical event with every below-.500 team entered. Sorry, but if you can’t win half of your games in a 16-18 game season, better luck next year.

Seriously, two-win Woodsville and Manchester Memorial qualified for the Division IV baseball playoffs and the Division I softball tourneys? Seriously?

Let’s take a gander at the postseason contestants released Monday, and the Greater Nashua entries that, in all honesty, should not be taking the field again this season. Yes, there are a handful.

On the diamond, 6-12 Merrimack and 8-12 Nashua North wouldn’t be playing Division I baseball Thursday if the NHIAA was on top of its game. North softball, at 3-16, would most definitely be sidelined in Division I, along with 8-10 Alvirne – close but no cigar.

In Division II softball action, 6-10 Hollis Brookline should also be spectators.

Local lacrosse teams like Milford’s 5-9 Division III boys entry, as well as the Hollis Brookline girls (6-8 in Division I) and Merrimack girls (7-8 in Division II), should be preparing for summer vacation.

None of the teams above should be involved in a championship tournament.

Set the bar at .500 and work from there. If the numbers are uneven, then it’s a first-round bye for the top seed, or two, or three, as the case may be. That’s why you win during the regular season, kids.

You have to earn a tourney berth. The higher the seed, the better. You get all the advantages – home field, byes and facing the worst seed when you actually play. But the worst seed doesn’t have to be a two-win pushover.

Make that playoff experience more competitive from top to bottom. Of course, that’s not the NHIAA’s game plan – the more teams involved, the more kids involved, the more gate revenue involved.

Tournaments are for crowning a champion, not offering seniors on a subpar team one last chance to take the field. That’s what Senior Nights are for.

A championship tournament is the cream of the crop squaring off, each afternoon or night.

Let’s get to that point sometime soon in New Hampshire.

Wake up NHIAA. Enough with mediocrity come playoff time.

George Scione can be reached at 594-6520 or gscione@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Scione on Twitter (@Telegraph_BigG).