Livonia Update

Maryland State out; Chicago in

Zanesville to host Cleveland in Best-of-3 series

National Tournament Director Bob Wolfe has informed us that Maryland State has withdrawn from the national tournament for a second year. As a result, the Chicago-South Shore franchise will now bypass the Zanesville Regional and recieve a direct bid to Johnstown.

The Zanesville Regional will still be played, but has been reduced to a two-team, best-of-three series between the Cleveland Blaze and Zanesville Junior Pioneers. Play begins on Saturday, August 1st at noon with a doubleheader at the historic Gant Municipal Stadium in Zanesville, Ohio. If needed, a third game will be played at noon on Sunday August 2nd, also at Gant. The winner of the series will advance to Johnstown for the national tournament beginning on August 10th.

Maryland State withdrew from their national tournament bid last year, as well, due to lackluster preparations by their local team. The reason for this year's withdraw is not yet known. Maryland State is a founding member of the AAABA and has competed in 50 tournaments dating back to 1945. However, due to withdraws, disciplinary actions, and losses in regionals, the franchise has only competed in 2 of the past 7 national tournaments. Maryland is 82-100 overall with 2 runner-up appearances in 1955 and 1984.

Chicago-South Shore will be competing in a franchise high 4th consecutive national tournament. However, the franchise is carrying an 18-game losing streak dating back to 1995. Last year, the Satchel Paige All Stars were outscored 14-47 in two games.

Cleveland will be looking to win their second Zanesville Regional. They won in 2006 over Zanesville, Cincinnati, and Columbus. That year was the first year for the reborn Cleveland franchise, which has posted a 15-14 record in 7 recent tournaments. Twelve of those wins came from the Chardon Blizzard, who were runners-up in 2012 and finished in the Top 4 three times.

Zanesville has never won their own regional, but are poised for a strong showing this year. Second year head coach Dave Balo has found the right combination this year and is currently enjoying a 27-game winning streak. That includes a 16-0 mark in the Central Ohio Collegiate League. Zanesville has a 52-112 record in the national tournament overall, and was held winless last year during Balo's first visit to Johnstown. Hopes are high for the Junior Pioneers this year, but they will need to get past Cleveland first.


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