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Spring title games will remain at Penn State

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association announced at its board meeting on Wednesday that the high school baseball, softball and boys volleyball championships will remain at Penn State this season after the school made some changes to its capacity levels.

“I’d like to report that Penn State has worked with us on getting some extra capacity,” PIAA Associate Executive Director Melissa Mertz said. “It looks like we’re good to go back with Penn State with their increased numbers, and we’re certainly appreciative of that.”

Central and Tyrone baseball are still in the hunt for a PIAA Class 3A baseball championship. The state final is scheduled for June 17 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park at 1:30 p.m. Cambria Heights and Glendale are still vying for their respective classifications softball championships, which also would take place at Penn State the next day.

“We will be at full capacity for baseball and softball and will be setting up ticketing for the qualifying schools,” PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said. “They should be able to buy what they need to get in. We will not be limiting players to two per student. We should be in good shape based on our past history with the capacities that both fields have.”

Tickets for all state playoff games are available only online at piaa.org.

“We will continue with electronic ticketing,” Lombardi said. “It seems to have been very well received across the commonwealth. People like it because they have access to it, and even if they go to a contest and don’t have a ticket, they can log on and get one right there. There will be no gate sale, only online through our website. You can show up at the game, pull it up on your phone, buy it and get the code scanned and in you go.”

Despite a small number of complaints locally about the exclusively online form of ticket sales, the PIAA said it has not received any complaints and that the days of buying tickets at a gate for its events are likely over.

“We have not heard that complaint,” Lombardi said. “We’ve done the online ticketing throughout our seasons, and the overwhelming success of it has been good, especially for schools not having to handle tickets, presales and all of that. I know our ADs over the years have said that’s one of the things that they dread about getting into the postseason. It’s been overwhelmingly accepted, especially with our site people as well, because they aren’t dealing with cash. I think you’re going to see electronic ticketing be very well accepted at all of our facilities for the next school year.”

Hoop changes

A motion to change the PIAA basketball playoff schedule that would see teams playing the semifinals one weekend and then have a week off before the state finals the next weekend was tabled until the July in-person meeting after a 21-7 vote.

The board also has not discussed the possibility of adding a shot clock to high school basketball in Pennsylvania following the adoption of the concept by the National Federation of State High School Associations recently.

“We haven’t really discussed it much at this time yet,” Lombardi said. “It’s an adoption from the NFHS that’s two years away. We have some time. I know the board will probably get involved with it, but presently we just wanted to get through spring sports after what happened last year. You’ll see a little more discussion coming from that from our steering committees and people that are going to have some real involvement like ADs and maybe school principals on having what they call an unfunded mandate. You’re going to have to have equipment to purchase and operators and those type of things. We also know we’ll get more information from the NFHS at our summer meeting at the end of June, and I think after that we’ll have a little more discussion.”

Co-op on hold

The co-op approval of Shade’s merger with Conemaugh Township in high school football was also tabled until the July meeting, because doing so would result in a change of classification in the middle of a two-year cycle.

Shade and Conemaugh Township were two of the four high school football teams in District 5 Class 1A. If the co-op is approved, the schools together would move up to 2A leaving only Northern Bedford and Tussey Mountain in the District 5 1A classification.

Batzel thanked

Northern Bedford athletic director Jeff Batzel was recognized by Lombardi for his service as he completed his term as the Junior High-Middle School Representative on the board.

“I want to thank the members of the board for making me feel welcome during my two years on the board,” Batzel said. “It was a tough two years. Best of luck moving forward to the board.”

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