Spring schedule switch for PSAC
No one can accuse the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference of standing pat.
The PSAC has made a major schedule change involving baseball in both divisions and softball in the West starting with the 2004 campaign.
Conference games will be scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays with teams playing four-game series on successive days home and away.
California's two teams, for instance, will open the league campaign Friday, March 26, at Indiana with Indiana returning to California the following day.
Sunday will be the makeup day in case of rain.
In the past, league games were scheduled one week on Tuesday and Saturday and Wednesday and Saturday the next. The meetings were also split up with teams waiting several weeks before the rematch.
The change means teams won't be able to save their ace pitcher to face a certain team twice.
"I'm not for or against the change," said California University baseball coach Mike Conte.
The East Division, however, will stay with the old format in softball which puzzles California coach Rick Bertagnolli.
"It doesn't make sense," said Bertagnolli. "You have to have uniformity when it comes to teams in the same conference playing for the same thing. It's not fair to players on both sides. I don't understand the rationale to two different formats."
The reason, according to PSAC media relations assistant commissioner Will Adair, is a different number of teams in both sports.
With Edinboro dropping baseball, the field was reduced to 12, one less than in softball.
Shippensburg, meanwhile, moved from the East to West to replace Edinboro in baseball but stayed in the East in softball.
The 2004 Elite Eight will return to St. Joseph's, Mo., where California lost to Northern Kentucky, 45-43, in last season's semifinals.
Monessen, however, is where Shoals started a highly successful minor league career where he hit 362 home runs in 15 years and still holds the Carolina League record with 55 home runs in 1949.
George Stone recently had a 335-page book named "Muscle" A Minor League Legend published on Shoals and devotes a chapter on the slugger's days in Monessen which was the St. Louis Cardinals' Class D team at the time.
Anyone interested in purchasing the book should write to George Stone,4792 Island Road, Bristol, TN 37620. The price is $19.95 and includes shipping.
Payne, the Milwaukee Brewers' first-year president, and his family are scheduled to be at PNC Park for his team's three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Speaking of Payne, Steve Russell, general chairman of the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame, was in Milwaukee the past weekend to visit with the 1996 Hall of Fame class inductee.
Russell was among the more than 37,000 fans at the Paul Molitor Bobblehead Day at Miller Park Sunday.