2021-07-06-STATEFINAL-1

Taconic celebrates their 14-10 win against Medfield in the State Championship game at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield. The MIAA's Baseball Committee unveiled its postseason schedule for 2022. If Taconic gets to another state final, it would be played on June 18, at a site to be determined.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Baseball Committee met Tuesday morning and went over schedule dates for the coming state tournament.

The state championship games will be at a neutral site, but they won't be at Fenway Park or Worcester's Polar Park.

"In November, I had emailed Fred Olson who is the director of special events" in Fenway Sports Group, the MIAA's Keith Brouillard said to the committee members during Tuesday's video meeting.

"As of this morning, I still haven't heard anything yet," Brouillard said. "With everything up in the air right now with MLB, I'm not sure I'm going to hear a response just as of yet."

The committee heard that the cutoff date for baseball will be Monday, May 30. The reveal of the five divisional brackets would take place on Wednesday, June 1, with the preliminary-round games scheduled for Friday, June 3.

The schedule has the Round of 32 games on Sunday June 5 or Monday, June 6. The Round of 16 would be Wednesday, June 8 or Thursday, June 9 while the Elite Eight round would take place either Saturday, June 11, or Sunday, June 12.

The semifinals would take pace on either Tuesday, June 14, or Wednesday, June 15. The championship games are scheduled for Saturday, June 18.

The MIAA schedule conflicts with schedules for Fenway Park, assuming there is Major League Baseball, and with the Worcester Red Sox's schedule at Polar Park. Boston is at home from June 14-22, while Worcester will be at home from June 14-25. Both of those schedules directly conflict with MIAA-scheduled semifinals and championship games.

"I'm not banking on it," Brouillard told the committee. "I'm still going to push forward with it to see if the facilities are available."

Lowell High School athletic director Dave Lezinski has been named the baseball state tournament director. Mike Roy, longtime athletic director at Minnechaug Regional High School, will be the assistant director for Western Massachusetts. Taunton AD Mark Ottavianelli will be the South assistant director, athletic director Ron Drouin of Tewksbury will handle the North, and Shrewsbury AD Jay Costa will be the Central Mass. assistant.

"As far as location of games, it is still early as far as we have contacted people, but we have contacted some people," Lezinski said. "Holy Cross has contacted Keith and LeLacheur [Park], which is here in Lowell, I have already secured LeLacheur Field. I just have to talk to them about the dates. They're very willing to host the tournament.

"I think that we're in good shape, and we look forward to playing baseball."

The new baseball facility at Boston College and Campanelli Stadium in Brockton are also on the radar for state finals. State semifinal sites are the next task for the MIAA and the committee.

"I'm glad this committee is pursuing Fenway," committee chair and Haverhill athletic director Tom O'Brien said. "I think we just haven't asked. It's been years, and to have our student-athletes be able to play at a venue like football does at Gillette and hockey does at the TD Garden, why not ask?"

When it comes to the tournament, there will not be a mandated mercy rule, but if a game is lopsided enough, the two teams could agree to end the game after the game becomes official.

The Baseball Committee's format will allow for 25 players and as many as four coaches on a bench. The original idea was to have two coaches, but Oxford baseball coach Justin Richards — the committee's coaches' representative — said National High School Federation rules require one coach on the bench at all times. So the committee will up the number to four on the roster.

Howard Herman can be reached at  hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253. 

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.