SHS wins bizarre battle with Pirates

Published 9:35 pm Friday, March 23, 2012

Southside’s Alie Jones (2) steals third base and is ruled safe after Perquimans bobbled the ball. Jones would eventually cross home plate on a Valarie Hodges single in the third inning of the Seahawks’ 2-1 victory over the Pirates on Friday at Southside High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINTIY — A pivotal and perplexing call stole the spotlight away from a fantastic pitchers’ duel during Southside’s Four Rivers Conference battle with Perquimans on Friday, but in the end the Seahawks ended up on the winning side of the umpires’ ruling, and the scoreboard, as they topped the Pirates 2-1.
Locked in a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and one out, Southside’s Tia Hardy blooped a ball to shallow right-center field, which was snagged by a diving Brean Fields. That we know for a fact, sort of. Everything else that happened after that is up for debate.
Though the umpires never officially signaled Fields made the catch, it looked as if she did and all the players on both teams reacted as though she made the play.
Valarie Hodges tagged up from third base to score an uncontested run and take a 2-1 lead, while Marlin Edwards advanced from second to third base and Sondra Sparks move on from first to second.
However, Perquimans contested that Edwards left second base too early and threw the ball to its second baseman who stepped on the bag for what the umpires at first ruled the third out of the inning.
That sequence of events setoff a firestorm as Perquimans coach Robert Spruill maintained that the run should not have counted, while Southside coach John Lohman protested that field umpire was not actually watching the base runners on first and second base.
“My side of the story is that as soon as the umpire said that one of the girls did not tag – the umpire originally called the girl out at second for not tagging – we threw the ball in. She’s out. The runner should not have scored … It doesn’t matter if she scores before we protest it or not. As soon as we protest that out at second she’s out. The run doesn’t score.”
If only it was the simple.
By tagging second base and having an out called it is implying that Edwards left second too early. However, after some time the debate moved to whether or not Sparks was the runner who left early at first base. Perquimans never threw the ball to first base.
Both umpires appeared to be watching the catch and could not definitively say who, if anyone, left early.
After 10-plus minutes of litigation it was determined that the run would count but the inning would end. As to who actually made the third out? Neither coach was told that.
“They told me they were going to count the run and that there was three outs and we were on defense,” Lohman said.
One thing that’s not up for debate is that both Seahawks’ ace Savannah Mumford and Pirates pitcher Katie Copeland were on top of their games on Friday.
Mumford allowed one hit in the first inning and didn’t allow another after that as she threw all seven innings and fanned seven batters, while Copeland scattered five hits and struck out two.
In the top of the seventh the Casey Cartwright drove a well-hit ball down the left field line where Seahawks’ outfielder Valerie Ruffin made a snow cone-catch to record the second out of the inning. After that, Mumford was able to get Copeland to fly out to second to end the game.
Southside (6-1, 4-0) scored its first run of the game in the third when Alie Jones reached first on a walk and stole second and third base before Hodges singled her home.
The Pirates (7-4, 1-3) answered in the fifth when Cartwright scored from first on a Southside error on a Copeland bunt to tie the game at one a piece.

Perquimans    000    010    0    –    1    1    1
Southside 001    001    X    –    2    5    2
WP: Savannah Mumford; LP: Katie Copeland
Hitters: P — Shelby Spruill; S — Valarie Hodges 2-3 (RBI), Macy Paramore 1-3, Marlin Edwards 1-3, Tia Hardy 1-4 (RBI).