Severna Park defeats Arundel, 8-7, by the book Speed-up rule is invoked in Wildcats' last at-bat

March 28, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

This was one for the book -- the rule book, that is.

Third-ranked Severna Park edged No. 5 Arundel, 8-7, yesterday with the game ending abruptly on a violation of a so-called speed-up rule.

Lefthander Ryan McKewin was brought in for Severna Park starter Pat Boucher with two outs and runners on first and second to pitch to switch-hitting Hector Guadalupe in the seventh inning.

McKewin ended up with a save when home plate umpire Dave Alexander called an inside pitch strike two on Guadalupe and then strike three when Guadalupe, upset with the call, spun out of the batter's box for a split second.

The batter can step out (one foot in is allowed) without penalty by asking for time or if he is forced out by a pitch. Otherwise, under national high school rules, the umpire is to call a strike.

Guadalupe's exit and return were so quick that it was questionable if the umpire enforced the spirit of the rule.

"It was the correct call," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter. "The intention of the speed-up rule is a good rule. Hector got upset because it was a questionable call and it was inside. The umpire also could have said the ball came inside and backed him out of there, but ."

Adding to the bizarre circumstances, Severna Park's Joe Weidman reached first on an error in the top seventh, but he proved to be an illegal substitution and was called out. Falcons coach Jim Pitt had not reported Weidman into the game. By the rules, it's an automatic ejection.

But Weidman went back to shortstop for the Wildcats' last at-bat. Had a ball been hit to him, it would not have been an out. Walter was holding Weidman's illegal entry as an ace in the hole.

No balls were hit to Weidman and the Falcons (2-1, 2-0) escaped with a big win in the Anne Arundel County South division over the defending champion Wildcats (2-2, 1-1).

"I didn't like it to end that way," said Pitt. "But our kids battled back and I'm proud of that. Boucher showed a lot of courage."

Pitt had planned to let Boucher pitch three innings because his arm had been bothering him.

Boucher gave up nine hits, struck out six, walked three and hit two batters in 6 2/3 innings.

No. 19 North County 5, No. 12 Northeast 4: Senior Billy Whitecotton (2-0) pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts as the Knights remained unbeaten. Shaun King and Rich Guarnera each drove in two runs for North County.

Pub Date: 3/28/98

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