PIAA might seek alternate site for softball championships at Penn State

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | 10:12 PM


The state softball championships are scheduled for next month at Penn State, but there’s a chance the PIAA will need to find an alternate site.

The university currently has the total capacity at Nittany Lion Softball Park capped at 190 people, PIAA associate executive director Melissa Mertz said Wednesday when the PIAA board met online.

“(That number) does not work well when you have teams and media and staff and officials,” she said, “and trying to get spectators in that number is certainly not going to help us out at all.”

The finals are June 17-18.

Mertz said she remained hopeful Penn State would loosen its restrictions once many of the governor’s covid-19 mitigation measures expire next week. Currently, events at outdoor venues are capped at 75% of capacity. Nittany Lion Softball Park seating capacity is listed as 1,084.

If Penn State doesn’t allow additional people, the PIAA could look elsewhere.

“We are definitely taking that into consideration,” Mertz said. “I did express that to the representatives at Penn State. If that stays so low, we might have to explore another option. They are hopeful that they will be able to get that changed, and so are we.”

Penn State has served as host for the state softball finals since 2011.

Previously, the PIAA championships were held at Shippensburg from 1976-2010 with the exception of three seasons. Altoona hosted the 1989 state finals, and Williamsport was host in 1993-94.

Basketball proposal passes 1st vote

On a first reading, the PIAA board approved a revamped schedule for the state basketball playoffs that would start the tournament a few days earlier and put the semifinals on a weekend rather than mid-week.

The proposal needs to pass two more votes.

If approved, the next state tournament would begin with first-round games on a Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8-9, 2022.

The second round would be March 11-12, with quarterfinals March 15-16 and semifinals March 18-19. In past years, some semifinal teams traveled across the state on a weekday, an issue the new schedule would address.

The championship games will be spread over three days, March 24-26. The boys and girls finals would be grouped together on the same day by classification, another change from the current format.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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