PIAA baseball and softball championships moving to State College
Starting next spring, the PIAA baseball and softball championships will have a new home.
The PIAA announced Friday that both events will be hosted by Penn State University for the next four seasons, from 2011 to 2014. The baseball championships had been played at Altoona's Blair County Ballpark for the past six seasons (Bermudian Springs won the Class AA title there last June), while the softball finals had been staged at Shippensburg's Robb Field since 1995.
Penn State's facilities certainly seem ideal for both sports. The school's baseball complex, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (pictured above), was completed in 2006 and seats 5,406 people, while the new $10.2 million Nittany Lion Softball Park is scheduled to open up next year.
Another nice touch from the PIAA: For the next four years, the baseball and softball championships will be staged on the same day. Mark your calenders down for June 17 next spring.
PIAA executive director Brad Cashman said that price was not an issue - both Penn State and Altoona's Blair County Ballpark, which has hosted the games since 2005, were about the same price - but the difference was in the details. For instance, the PIAA baseball finalists could not access the locker rooms at Blair County Ballpark because the Altoona Curve is in season when the PIAA plays its championship games in mid-June. Even though the Curve obviously is not home when PIAA visits, it still keeps equipment in the locker rooms. By contrast, the Class A State College Spikes do not begin their season until the PIAA championship games are complete. Also, Cashman noted that at Blair County Ballpark, the players must use the bathrooms in the mezzanine because they don't have locker room access. That won't be the case at Medlar Field. And Cashman said that Medlar Field, with 5,406 seats, might be better suited to the smallish PIAA crowds than Blair County Ballpark's 7,210 seats.
The PIAA also announced Friday that the boys' volleyball championships, which have been hosted at Penn State's Multi-Sport Facility the last several years, will remain in Happy Valley until at least 2014.