EDITORIAL: Protest takes innings off Wallingford rivalry game

The good news is that it doesn’t happen very often. The bad news is that it happened.

Last Wednesday night, Lyman Hall High School was leading cross-town rival Sheehan High 4-2 in the top of the fourth inning at Pat Wall field. There were Sheehan runners on second and third base. There was one out and a one ball count on Anthony MarkAnthony.

A balk was called on Lyman Hall pitcher Dylan Gary. 

Even if you don’t know much about baseball you wouldn’t see anything unusual about that. But what was unusual was what happened after. Lyman Hall protested the umpire’s balk call and the following morning the game was all but erased.

All but erased because the game will reset at the point where the misapplied balk call was made. The reset game will continue Tuesday. What’s erased is Sheehan’s remarkable come-from-behind 12-10 win, including a seven-run seventh inning.

The ruling by a rules interpreter for the Greater New Haven Umpires Association was backed by the SCC league committee. “Our bylaws stipulate the only way you can protest a game is when an official makes a misapplication of the rules,” said SCC Commissioner Al Carbone. “You can’t protest a judgment call.”

Sheehan now gets a chance to redo its thrilling win, and Lyman Hall a chance to stop it, but what can’t be accommodated is the wasted play of pitchers for both teams as a result of those now-erased innings. “I respect the idea of protests,” Sheehan coach Dom Lombardozzi said. “But with pitch counts, this has impacted us for the next week with our pitching.”

There could be changes involving protests, said Carbone. “We want to get a ruling in real time because both teams played three-plus more innings and pitchers were used. We have to change our procedure.”

Amid all this, perhaps the most important point made in Sean Krofssik’s Record-Journal account was by Sheehan Athletic Director Chris Dailey, who noted the game was being played “in front of a great crowd on a great night. With COVID, these kids waited three years for ‘Pink Night.’”

“Last night was all about our cancer benefit game and being able to showcase Wallingford baseball talent on a big stage, and we succeeded on both causes,” he said. “Nothing will take away from that. I’m very proud of our team.”

A great night indeed. We just have to wait until Tuesday to see how it winds up.



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