HS Softball Rainout Rule Reconsidered

July 13, 2016

Rules governing the way the winner is determined when a softball game is called because of weather in the middle of inning are being criticized after a pair of games when a team was declared the loser despite holding the lead when played stopped. In Kansas, a game between Shawnee Heights and Andover on May 28 ended with Shawnee being declared the winner and advancing in the state playoffs, despite Andover leading 4-3 at the end of the game.

According to USA Today High School Sports, under the current NFHS rules, state tournament games must be completed on the same day that they start. Because two of the runs Andover scored came in the top half of the seventh inning, which was never completed, Shawnee Heights was declared the winner since it held the lead at the end of the last completed inning.

I hated it, everybody did,” Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, said. “It makes everybody miserable. At that point in time and still, until we make a change if we do, the rule in the National Federation rulebook says what it says. You hate for kids to lose in that circumstance. I totally understand that. But if we had played another half inning who’s to say (Shawnee Heights) might not have scored some runs and won the game legitimately.”

A similar incident happened in Iowa on July 11, when a game between Alta Aurelia and Logan-Magnolia was called due to a storm. While Alta Aurelia led 5-4 when the game was called, Logan-Magnolia led 4-2 at the end of the last completed inning, so Logan-Magnolia was considered the winner.

“It’s a travesty,” Dave Turnquist, softball coach for Alta Aurelia, said. “The rule should be changed.”

Musselman said the association was looking into changing the rules so that similar events will not happen again.

What that prompts us to want to do, and we will because we’ve already talked about it in our June board meeting, is we will look at a game-ending rule for state tournaments only when the stakes are higher,” Musselman said. “We’ll look at a rule that says, ‘We’re going to play this thing out if it takes a month of Sundays.’
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