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Muda69

Underdog of underdogs, White River Valley turns winless season into sectional title

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http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/high-school/2017/06/01/white-river-valley-turns-winless-season-into-sectional-title/362370001/

Quote

SWITZ CITY – This might sound like a modern-day version of “The Bad News Bears” minus Kelly Leak and his motorcycle.

White River Valley, a Greene County school of 268 students, has little baseball tradition. The program’s first winning season since the school opened in 1991 came last year. But that season ended with a thud — a disappointing loss to Clay City in the sectional. Six seniors graduated from that squad. Coach Chris Cornelius retired.

“If we were going to win a sectional, last year was probably our year,” Cornelius said. “We didn’t.”

Fast forward to this season. Cornelius’ replacement quit before winter break. Another coach was removed prior to the season. The White River Valley administration came calling on Cornelius again.

“I got them a week before practice,” he said. “I came back on short notice.”

Cornelius’ son, junior Brayton Cornelius, went into the season as the clear-cut No. 1 pitcher. He pitched one inning in early April as was diagnosed — misdiagnosed, as it turned out — with an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow.

The losses mounted. Eighteen in a row, to be exact. They came in all shapes and sizes, but mostly lopsided and large. There was a 23-0 loss to Washington. A 17-0 loss to Owen Valley. Barr-Reeve was 24-0. The Wolverines lost 12 games by run-rule.

“I think at one point we were leading the state in the amount of batters we hit,” junior A.J. Russell said.

He is not joking. Without Cornelius to count on at the top of the rotation, the pitchers struggled. A lot.

...

But then — cue the movie montage — came the magic. On Saturday, with Cornelius back on the mound, the Wolverines knocked off Clay City, 9-4, and North Central (Farmersburg), 5-4 to win the sectional on their home field.

From a winless regular season one day to the program’s first sectional championship the next. Both wins came against teams that had won by the 10-run rule against the Wolverines during the season.

White River Valley, now 2-18, will take on Rising Sun (18-5) in the Class A Morristown Regional at 1 p.m. Saturday.

...

 

A good story.

 

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20 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

The ultimate defense of open playoffs.

Unless, of course, you choose to think rationally about the subject, as opposed to emotionally.

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On 6/3/2017 at 4:05 AM, bobref said:

Unless, of course, you choose to think rationally about the subject, as opposed to emotionally.

Please explain.

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9 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

Please explain.

It's a nice "feel good" story and all. But if you are charged with the responsibility of managing the overall health of the sport, you've got to keep in mind that the more teams you allow to participate in the post-season tournament, the less value you have in  the regular season games. When everyone participates in the tournament, the regular season becomes a series of exhibition games. Not the best solution for the overall health of the game. So, the question then becomes "what price are you willing to exact in order to get that one "feel good" story every decade or so?"

Edited by bobref

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12 hours ago, bobref said:

It's a nice "feel good" story and all. But if you are charged with the responsibility of managing the overall health of the sport, you've got to keep in mind that the more teams you allow to participate in the post-season tournament, the less value you have in  the regular season games.

Or, maybe using the regular season to determine a post-season isn't an optimal method of determining playoff qualifications.

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1 hour ago, DanteEstonia said:

Or, maybe using the regular season to determine a post-season isn't an optimal method of determining playoff qualifications.

I'm open to suggestion. What are your alternatives?

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On 6/13/2017 at 4:45 PM, bobref said:

I'm open to suggestion. What are your alternatives?

Keep the open playoff system. 

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On 6/13/2017 at 5:53 AM, bobref said:

It's a nice "feel good" story and all. But if you are charged with the responsibility of managing the overall health of the sport, you've got to keep in mind that the more teams you allow to participate in the post-season tournament, the less value you have in  the regular season games. When everyone participates in the tournament, the regular season becomes a series of exhibition games. Not the best solution for the overall health of the game. So, the question then becomes "what price are you willing to exact in order to get that one "feel good" story every decade or so?"

Why seeding fixes both issues. Makes the regular season meaningful, and makes these stories mean even more if they happen. Easy solution. 

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