A controversial baseball series in Georgia came to a close on Friday.
Four days after the GHSA Board of Trustees accepted the Johns Creek (Ga.) baseball team’s appeal of a ruling that overturned their Class AAAAAA semifinal win, the team fell to Lee County (Leesburg, Ga.) in game three, 8-0.
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As reported by Atlanta’s 11Alive, the Board met on Monday morning to hear Johns Creek’s final appeal against GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips’ ruling that the umpires made a judgment call when a base runner did not touch third base while the winning run was walked in. Because Phillips maintained the ruling was a judgment call, it was not reviewable and could not be appealed. Johns Creek appealed Phillips’ decision as executive director.
In the initial incident last Wednesday, Johns Creek and Lee County were tied in the bottom of the seventh in game two of the series. Lee County walked a batter with the bases loaded, which gave Johns Creek a 4-3 victory. However, Lee County head coach Brandon Brock argued with the umpires that the runner coming from second base did not touch third base.
The umpires agreed, putting in place the corresponding penalty that made the runner that did not touch third out. The winning run didn’t count. As a result, the game continued, and Lee County ended up winning the game 5-3 in extra innings.
The umpires’ ruling had eliminated Johns Creek from the playoffs, and a majority vote by the board (5-2) was needed to overturn Phillips’ decision. Johns Creek won the appeal, forcing a game three that was originally scheduled for Wednesday.
The game was moved to Friday due to field condition issues. For Lee County, it didn’t matter, as it dominated for the victory to advance to next week’s Class AAAAAA final against Pope (Marietta, Ga.). The state final was supposed to begin Friday until this delay.
The entire ordeal was not met without controversy, as evidenced by certain chants during the game.
These signs also displayed some Lee County backers’ displeasure at the Johns Creek appeal, trolling their opponents.
Now, both teams can move on after one of the weirdest high school baseball series America has seen.