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Seeding for the House tournament will be determined by a ratings power index, which takes into account opponents’ winning percentage, among other factors. In the CSL, teams that play (and win) more games get an edge in the rankings, regardless of the quality of their opponents.
The House tournament will also be completed in one day at Braddock Park in Clifton, Va., as opposed to the CSL’s tournament, which is spread out over several weekends at Eakin Park in Annandale, Va.
“We have some flexibility with the way the tournament is going to be,” said Reed, whose tournament is scheduled to include 32 teams, although that number could change depending on registrations. “But the focus on the tournament was to keep it on one weekend. When it’s over five or six weekends, it’s hard to get everyone together and keep people in town.”
The reason for the CSL’s more balanced setup, according to Caruso, is to create a fair system that gives every team a legitimate shot at making a run through the tournament. Case in point: Last season, the Wild Hawks, representing Rep. Jim Ryun’s (R-Kan.) office, finished the regular season at 5-5, but proceeded to pull off several upsets en route to the final four.
“The enjoyment of it and enthusiasm would not have been as great if in fact the lesser teams had gotten blown out in the first round by better teams,” Caruso said. “We’ve always been consistent about that.”
The CSL also has a 55-minute limit after which no new innings can start, unless the game is already in extra innings. It’s something that Anderson believes leveled the playing field a little too much for his team’s taste.
“It impacted the ability of good teams — to get in there and not be able to have an entire seven-inning game. That definitely affected some of the good teams,” Anderson said.
But there are no hard feelings on either side.
“It was a tough call, I’m good friends with [Caruso],” Anderson said.
“If that’s way they want to play, that’s the way more serious teams have played in the past,” Caruso said, citing the balls and strikes division that folded in the early 1980s. “And I wish them well.”
Reed said about 20 teams already have come on board, and although he expects an influx of plenty of high-caliber ballclubs to make the move from the CSL, there is a healthy mix of teams in the newborn league.
“We’re hoping it’s very competitive. That’s the goal here,” Reed said. “We have a very good cross-section, though, so it’s not like we’re getting all the people who only care about the tournament. People who haven’t played in the tournament [in the CSL] in a couple of years are joining, too, which is good. We wanted to come across as a system that wasn’t an elitist league.”
Elitist, no. But seeking healthy competition, yes. Which is why perhaps the crown jewel of the new league is the “King of the Hill” championship between the House Softball League and the Senate Softball League — something that, according to Senate Softball League commissioner Sonja Hoover, has been several years in the making.