Baseball – Non-Public Championships Postponed to Friday Due to Poor Air Quality
Hazardous air quality in the Trenton area and throughout New Jersey prompted the NJSIAA to postpone its Non-Public Baseball Championship double-header at Veterans Park in Hamilton from Thursday to Friday, the NJSIAA announced via email Thursday morning.
The Non-Public B championship game between Gloucester Catholic and the Non-Public A championship game between Red Bank Catholic and Don Bosco Prep will now be played as a double-header on Friday night at Veterans Park, with the original times remaining the same.
The Non-Public B championship will remain scheduled for 4 p.m., while Red Bank Catholic will play for its first state championship in 26 years, as well as the No. 1 ranking in New Jersey, against the defending the Non-Public A champion in a game scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
According to a report on NJ Advance Media, all four schools have been notified that should conditions not improve sufficiently to play on Friday, the double-header would be postponed to Sunday at Veterans Park. In that scenario, the public championships -- scheduled for Saturday as a quadruple-header at Veterans Park -- would remain unchanged.
Because there were four off days built into the tournament schedule between the sectional final round on Saturday and the originally-scheduled date of Thursday for the championship game, pitching eligibility remains unchanged following the postponement.
Although all pitchers were eligible for Thursday to begin with, the extra day gives pitchers who pitched on Saturday an extra day of recovery, which makes Don Bosco senior Mike Staiano even more likely to get the start on the mound and gives Red Bank Catholic ace Alex Stanyek a better chance to contribute as well.
Stanyek has not pitched on fewer than 10 days of rest this season, so going from four to five days will increase the likelihood that he can give coach Buddy Hausmann an inning or two of relief. Junior Steve Svenson is still the projected Red Bank Catholic starter for the Non-Public A championship game.
Several significant forest fires in Quebec, Canada have produced smoke that has been blow southeast, covering a significant part of the northeast U.S. that includes New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The smoke has created air quality considered to be "very unhealthy," according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The EPA issued an Air Quality alert for Thursday that will remain in effect until Friday at 10:30 a.m. A Code Red Alert is in effect until midnight and will become a Code Orange for Friday.
The EPA measures the air quality on a scale of zero to approximately 350, with 50 being considered a normal air quality and a measure between 150 and 200 considered a Code Red -- the point at which conditions are potentially hazardous to all groups of people, regardless of existing medical conditions.
The measurement in Trenton on Thursday morning remained over 150, despite improving overnight. According to the EPA in N.J., the AQI is forecast to drop below 150 by tomorrow afternoon, which would represent a Code Orange. In a Code Orange alert, people with respiratory and heart conditions are recommended to avoid outdoor activities.