The new format for the Metro Conference softball tournament was met with solid reviews all around.
Starting with the play-in games at one site last Thursday, then moving to four home sites of the top teams was fan- and player-friendly. Home field advantage wasn’t automatic for those four top seeds.
Omaha Benson kept Papillion-La Vista South out of the final four by winning the pool at Halleck Park, and Omaha Marian gave Millard West a strong challenge in Pool D at the Wildcats’ home field.
Hillside was a nice venue for the semifinals and championship game on Monday, but Millard South coach Steve Kerkman was accurate in his contention that the championship game should not have a time limit.
No other sport in the conference has a championship game on a short leash. Swimming doesn’t stop after the 200 freestyle relay, wrestling matches don’t end after two periods and basketball games go the full four quarters.
If it means starting the semifinals an hour earlier — the championship game started almost an hour late — then make that adjustment. Play seven innings and don’t let a clock or the desire to wrap things up expeditiously determine a champion.
Little movement in rankings
This has been the most stable week of the season for the ratings. The top four in Class B and Class C remain the same, with a key showdown set for Thursday in Class B when Beatrice travels to Omaha Skutt.
There is still plenty of time before district play begins in three weeks for teams to solidify their spots or make moves back up the ratings.
With tournaments still ahead for conferences such as the River Cities and Eastern Midlands — and tournaments like the Monarch Invitational and Westside Invitational this weekend — plenty of meaningful regular season games are yet to be played.