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Pope: Resumption rule good for high school baseball

Crown Point's Jack Vinovich dives back infirst dodgLake Central's Chuck  Alexa's tag.|Dan Shelton/Sun-Times Media

Crown Point's Jack Vinovich dives back into first dodgin Lake Central's Chuck Alexa's tag.|Dan Shelton/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 1, 2014 6:42AM



April showers bring havoc to spring sports.

Isn’t that how the expression goes?

This year, though, the DAC has cleared a cloud for suspended baseball games.

The new ruling came into play last week when Crown Point visited Lake Central. The Bulldogs began the April 21 contest with a double, two singles, a home run and another double.

Crown Point led 4-0 in the top of the first. Then came the rain. Soon after that, the game was halted.

In the past in the DAC, the rain would have washed out the entire game. The teams would have had to start the contest over from the beginning at a later date.

But the conference made a change this season, deciding to resume games from where it left off.

I think it’s the right call.

“If you check throughout the state, most conferences — in fact, I think we were the only conference when I emailed throughout the state — that started the games completely over,” LaPorte athletic director Ed Gilliland said Tuesday in a phone interview. “Everybody else was picking up from where they left off.”

Gilliland said the conference’s baseball coaches and athletic directors voted for the change after last season.

He saw a case for both sides of the situation.

“To me it’s six in one, half a dozen in another,” Gilliland said. “There are benefits to both ways. I can understand the argument to suspending a game and picking it up where it left off. I can also understand the argument of starting completely over. There will be situations where we will look back and neither one will work exactly right.

“Someday it will happen where there is a trip somebody will make and they will go over from LaPorte to Lake Central and there will be a half-dozen pitches thrown and the game will be over. That will happen sometimes.

“Just like what happened one year, Crown Point came over here three nights in a row. It was tied ballgame and got called because of darkness. We got rain one night, I think. It was just one of those things with our conference rules I think they came over three nights in a row. Either way, I can understand. This was something the coaches wanted to try, and I certainly won’t object to giving it a shot and seeing how it goes.”

Is it a perfect setup? No.

But it is a fairer situation. The old setup, in a way, punished a team if it was ahead before the game was suspended. The contest would have had to start from scratch.

Now, weather is taken out of the equation. Teams don’t have to try to squeeze in a game in deteriorating conditions just to make a contest official.

Plus, extreme examples will now disappear. Both Gilliland and Crown Point coach Steve Strayer referenced a game between the Bulldogs and Lake Central from a couple of seasons ago.

“We played seven, started over again, we played seven and started over again, and then we came over here and I think we finished it in the 21st or 22nd inning,” Strayer said. “And we’ve had some with LaPorte, too.”

A situation could occur where the trip to and from a game is longer than the actual continued contest. That’s a scenario the coaches are willing to try.

“There’s sometimes where the game will be darked out in the sixth inning or maybe the seventh inning and then you would have to drive over there to maybe play an out or two outs,” Strayer said. “ … We said we would deal with it.”

Crown Point’s game against Lake Central resumed three days later. The Indians didn’t complain because they were down four runs. They knew there was plenty of baseball left. Lake Central fought back and eventually took the lead before falling to the Bulldogs 9-8.

That’s the appropriate way to approach the situation.

“We’re going to give it a shot for a while,” Gilliland said, “and if the baseball coaches don’t like it or the athletic directors don’t like it, we can always go back and change it back.”

I have a feeling that won’t be necessary.



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