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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

High school baseball team forfeits playoff win because of illegal batting practice

wiffle ball baseballPalos Verdes Peninsula High School (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) had to forfeit a playoff baseball game they won on Tuesday after the opposing team’s coach successfully protested that Peninsula took illegal batting practice before the game.

Peninsula beat Santa Monica High School 7-2 in their CIF-Southern Section Division 3 second-round playoff game Tuesday and was set to face Paloma Valley in the quarterfinals on Friday. However, Santa Monica coach Kurt Schwengel filed a protest after the game, saying that Peninsula violated CIF playoff rules by throwing wiffle balls overhand to their players before the game. One of Santa Monica’s coaches recorded video of Peninsula taking the illegal batting practice, according to the LA Times.

The CIF has rules that explicitly state baseball and softball teams are not allowed to take any form of batting practice other than side soft toss, pepper or tee work, prior to playoff games.

Bylaw 15.22.2 states:

Teams entered in the baseball playoffs will not be permitted to take batting practice on the day of a playoff game prior to the commencement of the contest.” Batting practice will be construed as ANY type of pitching motion with ANY type of ball from in front of the batter (including pitching machines and overhand throwing).

A CIF official told Larry Brown Sports that the reason for this batting practice rule is to prevent home teams from having an unfair advantage over their opponents in the playoffs. The Southern Section is so expansive — it encompasses a whopping seven counties across Southern California — that some teams have to travel three hours to get to a game. Allowing one team to have batting practice while the other is sitting on a bus would create an unfair advantage.

Though it seems a little ridiculous on the surface that a team would forfeit a playoff game for taking some pregame wiffle ball practice, the coaches should know the rules, which they apparently did not.

From the Daily Breeze in Torrance:

It sounds like Peninsula feels that the batting practice was a minor violation and that Santa Monica should call off the protest:

This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen; last year, Shadow Hills forfeited a softball playoff game for the same reason, and in 2011, Alhambra’s softball team forfeited a game as well.

Santa Monica will now replace Peninsula and face Paloma Valley in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

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