Outside of Coal City, nobody was more shocked that Wyoming East earned the top seed for the Class AA Region 3, Section 1 tournament over Independence than the Warriors themselves.

On Tuesday, only a few days removed from a 2-1 loss to Independence, when the seeding came down, Wyoming East players, like the rest of the region, expected the seeding to go Independence, Wyoming East, Liberty, Westside and Oak Hill.

Three out of five were correct.

The top two, as we all now know, were flipped.

It was, putting it mildly, a shocker.

Just ask senior ace and leading hitter Holly Brehm.

"We were expecting to be the second seed, so when they came out that morning we all looked at each other like, 'Whoa, is this right, did they not type something right,'" she said. "We were shocked but, you know, we'll take it."

Her senior teammate Jazz Blankenship agreed.

"I'm not going to lie to you, I'm really surprised we came in as the one seed," Blankenship said. "But I'll take what we can get. We would have battled it out in the second seed like we are going to be in the first seed. I'm happy with what we got."

Wyoming East won't give it back.

But it just shows that everyone, even the players themselves, thought the seeding was a done deal.

Except for the few who either:

A. Don't know what is going on, or

B. Purposely voted Independence down to manipulate their own situation, or avoid a potential pitching matchup.

Neither choice is a good one. Maybe it's both.

First, the important thing to know is that the voting is done by the coaches, which is problem No. 1.

These coaches long ago figured out a way to manipulate the vote. You vote for everyone in your section except your team. Manipulation occurs when you vote a team lower than you think they should be voted.

These provocateurs of what is in essence an honor system can do so because the whole process is shrouded in secrecy.

First, Wyoming East appears to be an innocent bystander here.

Warriors coach Doc Warner made his ballot public when he told me that he voted Independence 1, Liberty 2, Westside 3 and Oak Hill 4.

Which, without his own team, is the proper way the seeding should have looked based on the results on the field.

Isn't that where the seeding should be decided?

Bottom line is when the voting was done, Independence was undefeated in the section and undefeated in region play. Apparently they were not undefeated in the perception of some teams.

I've always been a firm believer in letting the results speak for themselves. You don't lose a game in your region, you just beat one of the top pitchers in the state on the road and you end up second?

Independence played and beat every team in the sectional once at the time of the voting - Oak Hill 18-0, Westside 10-0 and Liberty 7-1 to go along with the 2-1 victory against Wyoming East.

That's 34-2 if you're scoring at home.

Problem is, at the time of voting Independence had only played those section schools once.

Patriots veteran coach Ken Adkins likes to play as competitive a schedule as he can, which included Class AAA heavyweights like George Washington and Hurricane, Class AA power Herbert Hoover and six games in the Ripken Experience against out-of-state teams (Indy was 3-3 in those games).

It's admirable.

His reasoning is simple.

Playing top competition makes his team ready for postseason. Independence was scheduled to play Wyoming East twice but one game was rained out.

At the end of the day, the Patriots ended up playing all their games at home in the tournament that began Monday. It was prescheduled that way.

It doesn't make up for the fact that the top seed was earned on the field and given away on a ballot.

When they play Wyoming East again, and you know they will, the Patriots won't have home field advantage at home.

In other words, the Warriors bat last as the top seed.

You'd think something could be done, though, to ensure this doesn't continue to happen.

Adkins was so upset about the situation, he called the SSAC. He was told the section voting would stand.

The seeds need to be settled on the field, not in an office and definitely not in a courtroom where, inevitably, these situations are going to lead.

One of the concerns is everybody doesn't play everybody. Well, make that happen.

So if they don't play everybody then they have to rely on others for information. These teams aren't in Kalamazoo, or even one of the panhandles. Not even Charleston. Come on, you don't have adequate information to make an informed decision? The don't vote.

Teams talk all season. Let's lift this shroud of secrecy around these ballots and make them public.

A decade or so ago I was a voter for the Associated Press Top 25 college football poll. Every week the Top 25 poll was released, I released my Top 25 ballot to run with the poll at the paper for which I worked. I made enemies in some strange places. But I had nothing to hide.

It should also be noted, too, that karma is often a - well, you know, it's not good.

When you go messing around with the process, don't be so sure that process won't come along and bite you on the rear when the situation is flipped.

And that is a sad state of affairs.

Independent Herald Reporter Dave Morrison can be reached at dmorrison@hdmediallc.com.

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