George Guido: WPIAL considers open format for baseball, softball playoffs

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Saturday, May 1, 2021 | 4:32 PM


With less than two weeks left in the WPIAL baseball and softball regular season, this might be a good time to go over playoff qualification.

Except it could change within the next few days.

The league originally issued guidelines stating the top four teams in each section will make the playoffs. But with some school districts cancelling games because of covid-19 outbreaks, the WPIAL will consider letting in any teams that wishes to participate, much like basketball season.

The WPIAL practically has three calendar weeks to complete the playoffs — scheduled to begin May 17 — so there would be enough time to complete an open tournament.

That aside, if the original plan holds, the top four teams from each section will be in the postseason. If there is a tie for the final qualifying position, head-to-head competition will be the top tiebreaker. If the season’s series is split between the teams, both will go.

If three or more teams are tied, head-to-head still is the chief consideration. If one team has a superior mark in head-to-play, that team will go and if there are any playoff spots left, the remaining teams will then consider their head-to-head play. If the tie persists, all teams will go.

Keep in mind only section games are considered.

As for PIAA playoff qualification in baseball and softball:

The top three teams in the WPIAL bracket in classes 4A, 3A and A will go to the state tournament. The finalists will be in and the two semifinal losers will play a consolation game.

All four WPIAL semifinalists in classes 5A and 2A will go. As for 6A, only the two finalists will qualify.

Costanzo promoted

Former Kittanning High School basketball standout Kate Costanzo, Allegheny College women’s head basketball coach the last 14 years, started a new position Saturday.

Costanzo, a 1998 Kittanning graduate, will be in athletic administration at the Meadville institution in the newly-created role of college ombudsperson.

The athletic department’s senior woman administrator, Costanzo now will be assistant director of athletics, Allegheny’s representative to the NCAA’s new position of diversity and equity, along with roster management and compliance with other NCAA requirements.

“I’m excited about my new role,” Costanzo said. “But there are so many things about coaching that I will miss like working with the student-athletes, mentoring assistant coaches and going over late-game situations.”

Costanzo played on Kittanning teams that qualified for the PIAA tournament in her sophomore and junior seasons and was named to the A-K Valley Cager Classic in ’98, when that event was in its infancy.

She went on to Penn State Behrend, where she remains one of that school’s all-time scorers. After college graduation, Costanzo was working as a business analyst for the State System of Higher Education when the coaching bug hit.

“I missed being part of a team,” said Costanzo. “I was working in an office building in Harrisburg, and I decided to work as an assistant coach at Dickinson College.”

She leaves the bench with 150 victories and three appearances in the North Coast Athletic Conference championship game. Six of her players eclipsed the 1,000-point career mark at Allegheny and 27 players earned all-conference honors.

Her more recent local recruits included Brooke Smith of Burrell and Freeport’s Jenna Manke.

Allegheny president Hilary L. Link created the new position as a “key to increasing communication, transparency and collaboration.”

“Kate has been a valuable fixture in our department for more than a decade,” said Bill Ross, director of athletics and recreation. “She has graciously taken on more and more administrative responsibilities.”

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