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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Worst way to lose a game?

Jul 15, 2016

It is always hard to lose in the postseason, but a story from an Alta-Aurelia softball game Monday night might take the cake for the worst way to lose a game.

According to the story, which was picked up by USA Today, the Warriors lost their 1A regional final to Logan-Magnolia despite leading when the game was called due to weather.

If you’re no stranger to high school sports in Iowa, you know the rule. If a game is at a certain point (a complete five innings in softball) and bad weather ends the game early, the final score goes back to whatever it was at the completion of the last inning.

What I personally did not know is that according to IGHSAU rules, the rainout rule isn’t just for the regular season.

According to the story and multiple tweets with the hash tag #WarriorsVsTheState, Logan-Magnolia led Alta-Aurelia, 4-2 going into the last inning, but the Warriors made a comeback in the top of the seventh.

The Warriors, who were the away team, scored three runs in the inning to take a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

The officiating crew at the game decided that due to the rains coming in, the game needed to be stopped. The problem, though, was that because the game didn’t officially make it into the bottom of the seventh inning, the top of the inning didn’t count.

The field was too wet to finish the contest, which meant the game was officially called, with the score reverting back to 4-2 Logan-Magnolia, sending the Panthers to the state tournament in Ft. Dodge instead of the Warriors.

Now, we don’t know what would have happened in the bottom of the seventh inning. Logan-Magnolia could have very well came back and won the game. But we’ll never know.

No matter what you think of the IGHSAU, I don’t think anyone would wish this dilemma on anyone. The Union had to make a decision. Do they ignore their own rule and let the teams come play the final inning the next day, or do they play it by the books?

The answer? They played it by the books. Kept the final score official and ended all hopes for Alta-Aurelia.

Obviously, there really isn’t much the Union can do when a rule is in place, no matter how bad it is. There should be no fault for the IGHSAU sticking to their guns. But what a terrible rule for postseason play, and what a horrible circumstance for a group of players.

To make it worse, when the IGHSAU tweeted out the final score of the game, they were greeted with angry Warrior fans, including one photo of the Warriors still sitting on the bus by the field, waiting for them to reverse the decision and play on. Yikes!

That may be the worst story I’ve ever heard about how a team lost a game. But here are a couple of other local situations that this disaster reminded me of.

In 2013, LeMars played Bishop Heelan in a substate game, defeating their archrivals, 8-5 in 11 innings.

On the bus ride home, the Bulldogs got a call from the Association. They were notified that a relief pitcher they used during the game had not rested enough days since going a full nine innings in the district semifinal. LeMars was forced to forfeit the game and Bishop Heelan advanced to state instead.

This situation also reminded me of a story I wrote about last year during the Little League Softball World Series.

In the league rules, the top two teams from the pool advanced to the semifinals. The team from Iowa and the team from Washington were by far the best two teams at the beginning of pool play.

Washington had defeated Iowa by one run, but it was Iowa’s only loss, so just as long as nothing crazy happened, the two teams would finish first and second.

The way things shaked out, Iowa could still miss out on the semifinals if Washington lost to North Carolina, the third team in the standings, by enough runs, Iowa would miss out because of three-way tiebreaker rules.

As you may remember, Washington decided to lose the game on purpose, 8-0, so North Carolina could move on instead and Washington would have an easier time in the knockout round.

The league did step in this time and give Iowa a shot at beating Washington for their spot in the tournament, but it still must have been brutal to sit in the stands and watch your team get knocked out without having any control. And because a team was losing the game on purpose just so you couldn’t play anymore.

So what’s the worst way to lose? Having your lead taken away by the rain, getting told you have to forfeit because of an illegal pitcher or watching a different team lose on purpose to knock you out from the stands?

One thing is for sure, though. when this kind of stuff happens, you can bet there will be a rule change before it can happen again. Be on the lookout for an update of the IGHSAU postseason softball rules in 2017.


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