Vikings may have to use wood, while foes swing metal
Tribune News Service
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Five California high schools who play baseball in the NIAA – South Tahoe, North Tahoe Coleville, Truckee and Needles – are keeping a watchful eye on California lawmakers these days.
In early May, a bill asking for a moratorium on all non-wood baseball bats for two years made it out of committee. The bill was introduced by Marin County Democrat Jared Huffman after one of the baseball players in his area, 16-year-old Gunnar Sandberg of Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield was hit in the face with a line drive back in March.
If passed, it would take effect next spring.
So where would that leave the five aforementioned schools? Up a creek without a paddle judging by an e-mail received from Ron Nocetti of the California Interscholastic Federation.
“Since those schools are located in California, if AB-7 is passed they would have to abide by it,” Nocetti said in an e-mail exchange. “I cannot speak to the impact on the schools they play as those are NIAA member schools.”
If the five schools had to use wood when everybody in Nevada is using metal, it would be unfair because metal bats out-perform wood bats.
“If AB-7 gets passed, the five California schools would appeal as none of the assembly people have looked at all of the ramifications,” said STHS Athletic Director Don Borges. “Sports are all about a level playing field. There would be a huge disadvantage for teams using wooden bats vs. a team using nonwooden bats.”
Jaime Legare, Truckee athletic director, said the proposed legislation is a big concern to her.
“When we had our 3A meetings I brought it up, but nobody seemed concerned about it,” she said. “There is a parents’ group (from Truckee) that has been talking to the aides (of Mr. Huffman) trying to get an exemption for our schools added (to the bill).
“If the bill goes through, we would have to go to the NIAA and see what they could do (for the five schools).”
Jay Beesemyer, assistant director of the NIAA, said it wouldn’t make sense because the five schools actually belong to the NIAA and not the CIF.
Beesemyer also said the NIAA isn’t likely to initiate banning metal or composite bats. He said they would follow the national federation rules and regulations.
“As big of a state as California is, I’d be amazed if something like that passes,” Beesemyer said.
Borges brought up another possible angle to the issue.
“Does a Nevada team that wanted to play in California have to use wooden bats?” Borges said. “I do not know if schools can afford to have two sets of bats – wooden and nonwooden to accommodate this proposal. As usual, this is about money that schools in Nevada or California do not have in the budget for two sets of bats.”
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