District 11 holds press conference
District 11 officials held a virtual press conference Friday morning to discuss playoff dates and formats for the 2021 spring season.
Over a year after spring sports were shut down entirely in 2020, the district plans to hold playoffs for all sports with the same formats it had used in spring seasons past.
Teams will need to win half their games either in league or overall to qualify, although teams with losing records could get in to fill out a bracket if less than the minimum number of teams qualify in a particular class.
However, district officials left open the possibility that changes could be made if necessary and didn’t completely rule out open brackets.
Most early-round district playoffs will be held at the site of the higher seed. Some semifinals and most finals are scheduled go to neutral sites, but not many have been determined yet.
District officials also said the PIAA plans to hold full tournaments for the spring of 2021. In fall and winter only district champions advanced to states, but in spring more teams could advance in many district 11 sports as they had in previous years.
Here’s a look at each sport:
Baseball Chairman Steve Toth announced that classes 2A, 4A and 6A playoffs will open Saturday, May 22 with quarterfinals on May 24, semifinals May 28 and the title game on Tuesday, June 1.
Classes 1A, 3A and 5A will start with quarterfinals on Monday, May 24 and continue with semifinals May 27 and the championship game Monday, May 31.
The minimum number of qualifying teams in each bracket is four for classes 1A, 2A, 3A and 5A. Class 3A is part of a subregional with District 1. District 11 Class 4A has six qualifying teams and Class 6A will have a minimum of eight teams.
In classes 3A, 4A and 6A the top two teams will move on to state playoffs. In classes 1A, 2A and 5A only the district champ will advance.
Toth said first-round and quarterfinal games will be played at the site of the higher seed, but he was hopeful semifinals could be played at neutral sites.
This year’s finals cannot be held at Coca-Cola Park due to scheduling conflicts. Both the IronPigs’ schedule and the Phillies’ taxi squad players training at the stadium made it impossible for the venue to hold this year’s title games.
“It’s disappointing not to have the championships at Coca-Cola Park,” Toth said. “It’s not for a lack of effort by their general manager Kurt Landes. They would like to have them as much as we would.”
College fields might not be an option this year so the district is looking at high school fields and public fields with lights.
Pigtail softball games for all classes will be held Monday, May 24. Classes 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A will have quarterfinals May 25, semifinals May 27 and title games on June 1. The minimum number of teams for each of those brackets is four in Class 1A; six in Class 2A; eight for Class 3A; and six for Class 4A. Class 2A could have a PIAA play-in game against District 1, while Class 3A will be part of a subregion with District 1.
Class 5A, with a minimum of four qualifying teams, has quarterfinals scheduled for May 25, with semis on June 1 and the championship on June 3.
Class 6A will have at least eight qualifying teams with quarterfinals held Thursday, May 27; semifinals June 1; and the title game June 3.
Championship games are expected to be played at Pates Park.
One team advances to states in most classes, with the exceptions of 3A and 6A, where the top two teams will advance, and 4A where one or two could advance.
TRACK AND FIELD
District 11 track and field chairman and Northern Lehigh Athletic Director Bryan Geist said this year’s district track and field championships schedule ‘will mirror that of the state meet’ and revert to a format used in the 1990s and early 2000s where the two classes compete on two different days.
The district meet will be held at Blue Mountain High School in Orwigsburg. Class 2A will compete on Tuesday, May 18. Class 3A will be held Wednesday, May 19.
The order of events will also mirror states, Geist said, with the exception of some modifications in jumping events.
Geist said he’s working with Blue Mountain to determine capacity limits that will be enforced, but he said it’s likely “a healthy number of parents” could be able to attend, barring any major setbacks between now and then.
Neither the PIAA or District 11 are limiting qualifiers this year. Both had invited smaller fields to some championships for individual sports over fall and winter. The 2021 spring season will see a return to full fields at both championships.
District 11 chairman and volleyball chairman Bob Hartman said he expects some challenges with the spring’s only indoor sport.
Class 3A first round and quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday, May 13. Semifinals will be contested on May 18 and championship games will be played Thursday, May 20.
First-round and quarterfinals will be held at the higher seed’s home court. Hartman said his goal was to hold semifinals and title games at neutral sites.
Class 2A only has two teams in District 11. Southern Lehigh and Bethlehem Catholic will play in a subregional with districts 1 and 2.
The District 11 singles and doubles tournaments will have 16 seeds in each class, while the team tournament will include the top eight teams in each class based on the District 11 power rating system.
The singles and doubles tournaments will be held at Parkland High School. The team tournament matches will be held at the site of the higher seed.
For the singles tournament, a seeding meeting will be held Wednesday, April 21. The first round and quarterfinals will be played April 26 with Class 2A starting at 9 a.m. and 3A players coming in at 12:30 p.m. Semifinals and finals in both classes will be Wednesday, April 28 starting at 10 a.m.
The team tournament opens with quarterfinals May 3, semifinals on May 4 and the title matches on Thursday, May 6.
The doubles tournament, which follows the same time schedule as singles, will be held Monday, May 10 (first round and quarterfinals) and Wednesday, May 12 (semifinals and finals).
Boys and girls lacrosse playoffs will open with quarterfinals on May 20. Girls semifinals are scheduled for May 24 and boys semis May 25. Championship games will be played on Mary 26 (girls) and May 27 (boys). Everything through semifinals will be played at the home of the higher seed. Title games will be played at neutral sites.