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Protests upheld in pair of games in Suffolk because of misinterpretation of rules

Two protests, in high school baseball and girls lacrosse, were upheld in Suffolk County on Thursday, triggering the resumption of a game in each event.

The Miller Place and Shoreham-Wading River baseball teams and the Ward Melville and Sachem North girls lacrosse teams will replay their contests from the point of interruption at 11 a.m. Saturday. Both games have playoff implications.

The protest committee of Section XI, the governing body for high school sports in Suffolk County, ruled in both cases that there was a misinterpretation of the rules by an official.

Shoreham-Wading River, which went on to a walk-off 5-4 win on April 26, will have that victory taken away in the Suffolk League VII standings and is 7-3. Miller Place will have a loss removed and is in first place at 9-1. The contest will be replayed from the bottom of the first with the game scoreless. Individual statistics also were wiped out.

“There was a misinterpretation of a rule by the home plate umpire and the protest was upheld and the game picked up from the point of interruption,” Section XI coordinator Tom Combs said.

Miller Place coach Rick Caputo said he lodged the protest after the Shoreham players gathered behind the backstop and began using a radar gun on his pitcher, Gavin McAlonie, during first-inning warmups.

“Under the bench and field conduct rules, it says that no coach or player can enter the area behind the catcher while the opposing pitcher and catcher are in their positions,” Combs said. “Coaches and players cannot be outside the designated dugout [bench]. Shoreham had players directly behind the backstop during the warmup and the umpire did not ask them to move.”

“I asked the umpire to have the Shoreham players move and he said he’s not moving them, that there’s nothing in the rules that says they need to move,” Caputo said. “I thought it was an intimidation move having guys back there in uniform when they’re not allowed. It was 0-0 when I protested the game. It wasn’t like I was trying to steal a win. I saw the protest through because it was wrong, and I don’t want opposing teams putting radar guns on my pitchers.”

“I’m not happy with the decision and I didn’t think making us play the game over on a technicality was the right call,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Willi said. “It didn’t affect the game. And our guys always do the pitching charts from behind the backstop — always. And if they’re asked to move, they leave. Miller Place is the only one that’s requested us to leave the backstop area.  I think our players feel they were cheated out of a win.”

The committee also ruled that Sachem North and host Ward Melville will replay the final 12:58 of their May 2 girls lacrosse game. First-place Ward Melville leads 9-7 and will serve a two-minute penalty after a call for a dangerous shot. Sachem North will have possession of the ball at the eight-meter mark. Ward Melville’s 13-11 win was erased from the standings.

“Ward Melville shot and scored and on the follow- through hit the defender with her stick and was called for a dangerous shot penalty,” said Pete Blieberg, the assistant executive director of Section XI. “The goal was counted, giving Ward Melville a 10-7 lead when it should have been disallowed and a two-minute penalty assessed.”

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