The sites for the 4A and 3A state baseball championships will not be played at Gesa Stadium in Pasco because of “unusable field conditions,” the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Thursday.
The WIAA changed the site of the 4A semifinal and championship games to Joe Martin Stadium in Bellingham — the home of the Bellingham Bells, a collegiate summer baseball team — and the 3A semifinal and championship games will be played at Husky Ballpark at the University of Washington.
The grass field at Gesa Stadium was compromised by a fungus, WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said. The WIAA learned of the issue about three weeks ago but hoped it would improve before the state championships.
He learned a week ago that it wouldn’t, Colbrese said.
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“We would have stayed there if we could have played there, but we were told by the facility that it just wasn’t going to get done,” Colbrese said.
“It’s disappointing, obviously. We were all set to go.”
The decision was announced Thursday morning, though Puyallup High School baseball coach Marc Wiese told The News Tribune in a text message that he was informed Wednesday it was going to move.
Colbrese said Cheney Stadium was among the venues the WIAA considered. The Tacoma Rainiers return for an eight-game homestand starting May 29 (the day of the state semifinal games) and Colbrese said the sites needed suitable lodging accommodations.
Cheney Stadium hosted the state championships in 2005 and 2011. It’s been held at Gesa Stadium since.
The surprise move is not unprecedented. In 2004, the WIAA was forced to change the venue of the state championships from Everett Memorial Stadium to Yakima County Stadium because of weather.
Other venues the WIAA considered included Avista Stadium in Spokane, Parker Field in Wenatchee and Yakima County Stadium, Colbrese said.
Saturday’s regional games have not been altered. The change only affects next week’s semifinal and championship games.
The WIAA said the game times for the championships will be the same at both facilities — the first game on May 29 will be at 4 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m. The third/fourth-place game will be at 1 p.m. May 30, and the championship at 4 p.m.
Ticket prices are still $9 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens.