Instead of holding a baseball on Friday night, Hamilton High coach Lewis Earnest was left holding a copy of a court-filed document that originated from the Lions’ most recent opponent.
A grtoup of parents representing the Bruce baseballteam filed a motion late Friday afternoon in the Hinds County Chancery Court to overturn a Mississippi High School Activities Association ruling that favored Hamilton.
On Monday, the MHSAA determined that Bruce High School would have to forfeit Saturday’s Class 2A semifinals-series clinching win against Hamilton because its pitcher Caleb Hanley surpassed 17 innings pitched in a week by throwing 4 2/3 innings in that decisive Game 3.
That rule violation nullified Bruce’s 6-5 win in Game 3 and its first-ever trip to the state championship series. Hamilton was given a second life and, as of now, will be playing Richton in next week’s MHSAA Class 2A state championship series beginning Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Despite Bruce’s appeal being denied by the MHSAA Executive Board on Wednesday, that state championship series matchup could change depending on a judge’s ruling on Monday.
The motion filed late Friday afternoon questions the validity and language of the 17-inning rule, as well as MHSAA’s interpretation that Bruce had violated the rule and should forfeit its Game 3 victory.
An excerpt from the court-filed motion read: “This Court has the power to correct this forfeiture, and can fashion a proper remedy by reinstating BHS as the North State Champions, and allowing it to play in the State Championship Games.”
MHSAA Executive Director Dr. Ennis Proctor said he understands how disappointing and frustrating the situation is for Bruce, but he believes the MHSAA has made the right ruling.
“The rulings of the association have usually been upheld in the past,” Proctor said, “because the rules in the handbook are voted on by the schools and for the schools.
“You hate to see what happened to the Bruce team and to the school. It’s sad what happened, but at the same time the rules and regulations have to be enforced.”
Said Earnest, “I’m going to accept whatever rule they give us.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal