LARRY MAHONEY

Umpire in Cony-Bangor game should have made compromise decision

Posted June 01, 2012, at 4:55 p.m.

It was one of those situations that had a number of different solutions and all of them made sense.

During Wednesday’s softball game between Cony High of Augusta and Bangor, Bangor had runners on second (Casey Modery) and third (Jodi Fahey) and two outs.

June Candland hit a ground ball to Cony third baseman Olivia Deeves and her throw to first clearly drew first baseman Sonja Morse off the bag.

Everyone knew it.

But the base umpire, Rick Bates, called Candland out.

Fahey had broken for the plate and crossed it and Modery rounded third and also raced for the plate.

Morse may not have heard the out call at first or she knew she was nowhere near the bag so she threw the ball home to try to nail Modery.

But Modery slid under the tag of catcher Nicole Rugan.

Bangor coach Don Stanhope sought home plate umpire Randy Evans to correct the blown call at first and Evans agreed with him.

But now what?

Initially, both runners were allowed to score but Cony coach Rocky Gaslin argued that since the call was overturned at first, play was dead and the runners should have to return to second and third.

At first, Fahey was allowed to score and Modery was sent back to third.

But Gaslin eventually won out and Fahey was returned to third and Modery to second.

The next Bangor hitter, with the bases loaded, struck out. So Bangor, which had scored a run earlier in the inning, was left facing a 5-1 deficit instead of 5-3.

Stanhope argued that decision and was ejected by Evans.

Stanhope maintained that if play was dead, why did Morse throw the ball home? Why didn’t she just roll the ball to the circle? Why did Cony keep playing?

Mark Doughty has been a softball umpire for more than 30 years and said the rule reads that it is up to the home plate umpire’s discretion to place the runners where he felt they would have been if the base umpire had made the correct safe call.

Gaslin’s argument made sense. Candland was called out at first. Inning over. Just because the call was wrong, that’s not his players’ fault. Bangor should not be allowed to have a runner cross the plate.

But Stanhope’s contentions also made sense. The call at first was obviously wrong, the Cony players kept playing as if they knew the call was wrong so Bangor’s two runners should have been allowed to score.

In either case, Evans should be commended for reversing the call made by Bates, but there was room for more compromise.

So what should have happened?

Fahey was off with the pitch and should have been allowed to score.

Modery kept running on the play but if the safe call was made, she may have stopped at third or been held at third by Stanhope, who is the third base coach. Modery should have been sent back to third.

That’s a better decision.

There was some confusion because Candland was clearly safe and the base ump made the out call.

The call ended up not having a major effect on the game as Cony won 6-1.

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