Baseball beat: Branford baseball loss overturned by protest

SCClogo-e1378794037582Branford has been granted a second life in its game against East Haven.

After the Hornets had a go-ahead bases-clearing double taken away due to an illegal substitution in a 7-5 loss Monday, the SCC has upheld a protest by Branford stating the illegal substitution rule was misapplied.

Asa result, the game will resume Thursday at East Haven at 3:45 with Branford up 8-7 in the seventh. The Hornets will be at bat with a runner on second and two outs.

Branford took the lead after Cory Williams, who pinch hit for Patrick Cunningham in the sixth, drove in three runs with a double in the seventh.

When Williams originally entered the game, Branford coach Ed Bethke did not tell the umpires that he was bringing in a pinch hitter, something he did not have to do. Rule 2, section 36 article 2 of the National Federation High School Baseball Rule Book states “an unreported substitute is a player who, by rule, can be in the game but has entered without reporting.”

East Haven coach Butch Johnson told the umpires after Williams’ go-ahead hit in the seventh that the runs should not count because Bethke never announced that the pinch-hitter was in the game in the sixth inning. The umpires agreed and the game ended 7-5 in favor of East Haven.

Branford’s athletic department filed a report with the three members of an SCC committee — commissioner Al Carbone, West Haven athletic director and SCC baseball chairperson Jon Capone and Shelton athletic director John Niski — and also consulted Arnie Mann, the commissioner of the Greater New Haven Umpires, after the game.

On Tuesday the protest was upheld by the SCC.

Johnson could not be reached for comment.

“I called my athletic director, I went through the proper steps,” Bethke said. “I finally got a hold of Arnie Mann and he too, as well as other people before, said there’s no rule that says you’re required to tell the umpire or the other team you’re going to substitute.”

Although Branford did not need to announce that Williams was in the game, Carbone said that in situations like that the communication could be better.

“Are coaches doing this all the time?” Carbone said. “Are they not telling (the umpire)? As a coaching staff, you better make sure you’re aware of who’s coming in.”

Mann said from his experience “98 percent of the time,” coaches report subs. He said he will recommend that the Umpire in Chief for Connecticut makes it mandatory to report substitutions.

“This could escalate and we don’t want it to,” he said.


  1. Lovecrazybaseball plays says

    This situation is taken care of in the rule book already no need for Arnie to change something that’s been a rule for along time.

  2. baseballrules says

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if the umpires actually KNEW THE RULES!!! Would have eliminated the problem. LOL!!

  3. gobballfan says

    Even without knowing the rules, common sense should have dictated that once the kid was already in the game from the previous at bat, there shouldn’t have been any penalty by the time he came up a second time.

    • Henry ChisholmHenry Chisholm says

      And you would imagine that the ump would say something when he noticed a new kid was up at bat in the sixth. However, things happen, don’t wanna pile on the ump. Everyone makes mistakes.

  4. john frione says

    Al the years of watching games and seeing when changes were made on the field and teams score keeper exchanging after every inning on changes, who would have thought there was not a rule that said you had to be reported in, this should be changed, sometimes crazy things In sports happen to make changes.

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