This time, sheer luck won’t factor into a Hawaii Kupuna Softball League Division I championship.
The two-day, 21-team Hawaii Kupuna Softball Tournament begins today at Old Kona Airport Park, with opening ceremonies scheduled for 8 a.m. and games beginning at 9 a.m.
For the first time, a double-elimination format will decide the Division I title.
When asked why the 55-and-over senior citizens softball league chose that format, Kona Gold manager Kerry Crosson said the players wanted to avoid a repeat of last year’s Hawaii State Senior Citizens Softball Tournament, when the combination of head-to-head play and run differential decided berths in the Division I first-, third- and fifth-place games.
In that tourney, Hilo Pomaikai, Oahu’s Bad Company and the Maui Braves had identical 2-1 pool play records. Also, in protest of a ruling that called for a playoff game that would have decided a No. 1 seed in pool play, Hilo Pomaikai chose not to play in the playoff game.
“We want everything decided on the field as opposed to issues coming up where there’s run differential or the flip of a coin,” Crosson said.
The top four teams in the West Division and the top three teams in the East Division will participate in the Division I playoffs, with West Division regular-season champion Kona Gold (31-3) earning a bye.
In noteworthy games, defending Big Island Division I champion Honomu will play Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill at 10:15 a.m., and East Division regular-season champion Hilo Pomaikai takes on the Onomea Rangers at 11:45 a.m.
The first of two possible championship games will take place at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
Eight teams will compete in the Division II tournament, and six will play in the Division III tournament, with pool play determining spots in championship games scheduled on Thursday.