Ten reasons Westminster and South Carroll should meet in a one-game showdown at night for the Carroll County high school baseball championship are:
* The players on these talented teams deserve a chance to perform in prime time -- when all their friends and family can watch -- at least once.
* High school baseball in the county has reached such a high level that it no longer should be hidden away during the afternoons.
* These two strong rivals should not be asked for a second straight year to share a championship.
* The staging of such a game would show that Carroll County has some forward-thinking athletic administrators.
* Westminster is ranked No. 3 in the Baltimore metro area and South Carroll is No. 9. Only Calvert Hall and Mount St. Joseph are ahead of the Owls.
* It would show baseball players and all other athletes in the county that someone really cares what they are accomplishing on the field.
* All the other major sports in the county get to play almost all of their games at night.
* Such a game would give an entire community something to be proud of and pull it closer together.
* There would be tremendous boost to school spirit for the winner of the game and a lifetime of memories for the athlete who might pitch a shutout or hit a game-winning home run.
* It is a natural. . . .
So why not get on with it?
Bruce Cowan, supervisor of interscholastic athletics for Carroll County, said there are two major stumbling blocks.
Cowan said it would not be fair to the other sports to stage a one-game playoff for the baseball title and not for them.
Reason No. 2, he said, is the lack of a secure baseball stadium with lights in the county.
Forget the first roadblock.
Conduct single-game playoffs in all the sports. Let North Carroll and Liberty (co-champs at 5-1) meet for the county softball championship.
Who wants to be a co-champion in anything when only four or five teams are in the league?
The second barrier is more legitimate but could be overcome with some expense and work on a short-term basis, and overcome permanently with help from the county Recreation and Parks Department.
The permanent solution would be for the county to build a baseball stadium similar to Joe Cannon Stadium in Anne Arundel County and McCurdy Field in Frederick.
Carroll County officials have been able to find the financing to build several lighted softball fields and tennis courts. So how much more expensive would it be to add a baseball field at one of its softball and tennis complexes?
And now for the short-term solution so this game can be played this season or at the latest next season if there is a tie again (Westminster and South Carroll both finished 4-2 in the county):
An outstanding baseball field with lights is available in the county.
That field is located in the middle of Taneytown Park, though it is not closed off, making it tough for admission to be charged.
The Taneytown Cardinals, a strong sandlot team, play there on Sundays and pass the hat around for donations.
The short-term answer would be to hire some security guards and station them around the stadium to collect money from those who want to watch the game.
Or a high temporary fence could be installed to seal off the stadium, leaving an entrance area open where money could be collected.
Cowan conceded that his department could stage a game between Westminster and South Carroll at the Taneytown field, but he believes it is too late to do it this season.
"We'd find the security, get the people to work it and have the money to pay the umpires," he said. "But I don't think we have time to do it now. We could take it under consideration for next year."
Cowan does not believe the game would make money for the county.
"We couldn't charge more than $3 for adults and $2 for students and I don't think we would get more than 100 people there," he said.
With a little promotion, one has to believe at least 300 fans would come out the first time the game was conducted and that number would grow significantly over the years if everybody knew from the start that there would be a one-game playoff in case of a tie for the championship.
Face it, guys. There are really no more excuses for not having these playoffs.
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association has given its OK for an extra game to be played to determine a county title.
The door is wide open for allowing these athletes to have a lot of fun and build lasting memories.