Chesterton Tribune



Controversial baseball semistate call leaves questions

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Tommy Benson was incredulous.

As Fishers celebrated a 5-3 IHSAA Semistate victory over the Trojans on Saturday, Benson continued to vent about a second inning play.

“It happened to me earlier in the Sectional against Merrillville,” Benson said. “I didn’t say anything about it. I looked up the rule. My dad told me to make sure the umpire knows. My uncle’s an umpire, he looked it up.

“Why do we get punished when he made the wrong call?”

Trailing 4-0 in the top of the second, Tyler Nelson and Brett Roeske singled with one out to put runners on first and third. After courtesy runner Patrick Sosby stole second base, Benson came to the plate with two outs.

Benson singled to center scoring Nelson and Sosby, moving all the way to second base on the play.

The home plate umpire called catcher’s interference as Benson’s bat struck the glove of Tigers’ catcher Kiel Brenczewski. The play was ruled dead and Nelson and Sosby went back to their bases and Benson was awarded first.

Benson was livid and had to be restrained by teammates as Campbell got the explanation from the home plate umpire.

“(The umpire) said he called catcher’s interference as soon as the bat hit the ball,” Chesterton head coach Jack Campbell said. “That stops play and sends the runners back to their bases. I didn’t see anything or hear anything. I was watching the baserunners when he came out and called the play dead.”

“(The umpire) says its not Major League Baseball,” Benson said. “I don’t know how four of them don’t know the rule. If the others knew the rule, why didn’t the speak out and make a change?”

Following the delay, the Trojans got a one-hop ground ball back to the mound and the Tigers were out of the jam.

Section 8, Baserunning, article 1 under obstruction in the National Federation of High School’s baseball rule book states if the catcher or any other defensive player obstructs him. The coach, or captain of the team at bat, after being informed by the umpire-in-chief of the obstruction, shall indicated whether or not he elects to decline the obstruction penalty and accept the resulting play. Such election shall be made before the next pitch (legal or illegal), before the award of an intentional base on balls, or before the infielders leave the diamond. Obstruction of the batter is ignored if the batter-runner reaches first and all other runners advance at least one base.

“I don’t understand what’s going on,” Benson said. “If the bat hits his glove, let it play out and you can take what happens. They blew the game. I don’t understand why there’s no process against this.”

Fishers coach Matthew Cherry had the other view of it.

“It was huge, and it was the right call,” Cherry said. “It was catcher interference, and in high school, it is a dead ball immediately. It’s unfortunate because in pro ball it is not. You get to take the better of the result, so the single would have stood. It was a huge break for us.”

Two local umpires were on the bases for the game, neither was consulted about the rule during the game. Once the home plate umpire ruled the play dead, any consultation about the rule was null and void.

“I don’t want our season ruined,” Benson said. “It shouldn’t have happened. If they beat us, OK, but they didn’t beat us. Those two runs tie the game. We just wanted a chance. The umpires were wrong. They didn’t know the rule. They took the game out of our hands.”



Posted 6/11/2018




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