NIAA decision pulls South Tahoe nine out of cellar |

NIAA decision pulls South Tahoe nine out of cellar

The first Tuesday of the offseason became the biggest Tuesday of the season for South Tahoe’s baseball team.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association announced Tuesday that it determined Galena High School played with an ineligible baseball player from March 13 through April 8. That ruling turned South Tahoe’s two Northern Nevada 4A losses to Galena in a March 25 doubleheader into forfeit wins for the Vikings, lifting them out of a last-place tie and correcting their record to 6-18.

“It’s never fun to pick up wins that way, but it was no doing of our own, so we’ll take ’em,” said Vikings skipper Doug Russell, whose squad finished in an 11th-place tie with Hug.

“One day, we’ll be able to look back on this and we’ll look at a record that was probably a little more indicative of the way we played baseball,” Russell said, wishing Reed – which grabbed the eighth and final playoff spot with the change – luck.

An NIAA member school requested an investigation into the eligibility of a Galena player. Tom Olivero, the student activities coordinator for the Washoe County School District, contacted Galena, and the NIAA rendered its decision on the basis of information the school provided. The ruling changed 11 Grizzlies wins to forfeit losses, dropping Galena to 8-16 on the season.

“This is a very unfortunate situation, but one which requires action based on the rules and regulations of the NIAA,” said executive director Dr. Jerry Hughes. “The grades of a student who was enrolled in curricular classes outside of the school were not monitored properly. Although it was inadvertent on the part of Galena High School, the fact remains an ineligible player participated and had a potential effect on the outcome of every contest.”

Galena High, which finished second in the baseball standings before the change, has appealed the decision. If the appeal doesn’t reverse the ruling, the playoffs begin with top-seeded Reno playing Reed and fourth-seeded Douglas meeting Fallon on Wednesday, then third-seeded McQueen taking on Wooster and No. 2 seed Carson playing seventh-seeded Sparks on May 4.

The ruling changed the records of all but three of the Northern 4A teams. Reno’s 21-3 record and Fallon’s 14-10 mark both stayed the same, as did Elko’s 5-19 mark. Sparks, Reed and Lowry all finished with 11-13 records in league play, and Sparks owned the tiebreakers over the other two teams. Lowry missed the playoffs based on the run-differential tiebreaker.

South Tahoe and Hug finished with the same league record. Both teams had one more win than last-place Elko. The Vikings baseball squad was the victim of an earlier NIAA ruling, when the league changed an apparent March 14 win at Douglas to a loss because of a rule that limits how many innings a player can pitch within a specified time.

“I feel bad for Galena – I don’t know the situation,” Russell said. “I’ve been through that situation myself.”

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