Scott County capturing the 2018 Owensboro Health/KHSAA State Softball Championship last weekend marked the last state title in the event’s double-elimination format, as the softball tournament will now transition to single elimination in 2019. The 2018 championship also marked the final year of the Association’s contract with the city of Owensboro, leaving the future site of the tournament up for consideration. The KHSAA will begin the RFP process this summer for a future site, with the matter to be reviewed by the Board of Control during its September meeting in conjunction with championship discussions in other spring sports.
“Since I became Commissioner, I have been working with the Board of Control on various changes and improvements to tournament formats and new offerings. Softball has presented continual challenges during that time, largely due to its format,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “The overwhelming majority of our softball schools had long favored our sixteen team, double elimination format. While this format allowed for a great level of participation, it certainly placed restrictions on many aspects of the tournament including schedule, format and location.
“Our staff and Board have worked collectively in demonstrating the need for change as the game, its participants and all aspects around the event continue to evolve. These discussions culminated in the Board’s February approval of moving the softball tournament away from a double-elimination event after our contracted period was up with the current site. I am pleased the Board has allowed for transformational discussions of both our baseball and softball state events. There are lots of factors to consider and discuss, but if all goes according to plan, we will collectively end up with a product that will allow our student-athletes the best possible participation experience regardless of the eventual tournament format or location.
“I, along with the Association and its Board of Control and member schools, will be forever grateful to the City of Owensboro and all of the past sites of our tournament over the last twenty-four years of Fast-pitch softball. Owensboro, it’s Parks Department and their great staff, Convention and hotel industries and the business community at-large, have been ultra-supportive of the event including funding tens of thousands of dollars in improvements to the local facilities in addition to significant sponsorship dollars. I am hopeful, and will make efforts to ensure, that they have a desire to be involved with this and many other KHSAA events and undertakings for the foreseeable future.”