Vikings diamondmen to forfeit rare win over Douglas
For the past decade, Douglas has found ways to beat South Tahoe High on the diamond. They found another means to victory after losing a Northern Nevada League game 9-8 Tuesday in Minden.
South Tahoe learned Wednesday a misinterpretation of a pitcher utilization rule cost the club one of its best starts (2-2) since posting a 10-10 record in 1994 – the year of the Vikings’ only postseason appearance since joining the Northern Nevada League in 1982-83.
Ryan Cullen, who gamely pitched a seven-inning complete game as the Vikings edged the Tigers, exceeded the 11-inning allotment for pitchers over a four-day period.
“It’s not put in writing yet, but everybody seems to agree that a rule was broken,” said Donnie Nelson, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association sports information director. “(Executive director) Dr. Jerry Hughes says it’s going to happen. It’s a matter of getting the scorebook to finalize it. “
Cullen started his four-day stint with a five-inning outing in the Vikings’ doubleheader loss to Wooster on Saturday in Reno.
“I’m disappointed in myself,” said STHS manager Doug Russell. “I’ve let the team down, the school down and have no one to blame but myself. As a head coach, I need to make sure I’m familiar with the particulars of league rules. There’s no national policy on this. This is a rule that is specified to our league, but that doesn’t excuse someone in my position from making that kind of error in judgment.”
Russell interpreted the rule to mean pitchers couldn’t exceed 11 innings work from Sunday to Sunday.
“It could be any four-day stretch together,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean Monday through Thursday. It’s the first time it’s happened since the rule was written. It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances, but a rule is a rule, and you have to follow it.”
The NIAA was informed of the infraction by an undisclosed course Wednesday morning.
“Somebody has to report it,” Nelson said.”We don’t check all of the box scores
Douglas first-year varsity coach Fred Bendure was aware of Cullen’s innings and filed a protest with the umpires in the seventh inning.
“The umpires don’t monitor it, so it’s basically a call to the NIAA to investigate if there is a question,” Bendure said. “It’s not a great way to get a victory, that’s for sure. It’s unfortunate for them.”
Russell said the Vikings won’t protest the decision.
“It’s a shame that we should play so well and come out of that game feeling so good about ourselves and lose it in this fashion,” Russell said.
Considering that South Tahoe is in the midst of playing eight games in eight days, the existing rule compounded with a makeup game or two does a disservice to pitchers’ throwing arms, Russell said.
“The league could benefit by taking a look at the effect that many games in that time span has on the high school body, not to mention the effect it has in the classroom,” Russell said. “We’re dealing with high school arms in cold weather. Four games in a week is quite a stress on high school athletes, and we’re looking at four games in four days. At no playing level is that much baseball played during that stretch.”
Oddly, Russell can use Cullen for up to four innings today when the Vikings visit Carson City.
“I hope we can rally around this, because we’re a good club, and we’ve made strides this season that confirm that we’re capable of being the team we want to be,” Russell said. “I feel so bad for the kids. They’ve worked so hard all winter long. Tuesday was phenomenal and I accept full responsibility, but we need to move on.”
With the forfeit, STHS’s and Douglas’ records both adjust to 1-3. South Tahoe was 3-24 last year.
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