THOMASTON, Ga. — Johns Creek had won the game, and they were forcing the 6A state baseball semifinal game into a decisive game three. At least that’s what they thought.
Johns Creek and Lee County were tied in the bottom of the seventh in game two of the series on Wednesday. Lee County walked a batter with the bases loaded, giving Johns Creek a 4-3 victory. However, Lee County head coach Brandon Brock came out and talked to the umpires. He argued the runner coming from second base did not touch third base.
The second and third base umpires agreed, and they put in place the corresponding penalty. That called the runner that did not touch the bag out and the winning run not count. Therefore, the game continued. Lee County ended up winning the game 5-3 in extra innings and claiming the series.
Johns Creek appealed the umpires’ ruling, but acting GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips deemed the call a “judgment call,” he told 11Alive on Sunday. Judgment calls cannot be reviewed and are not appealable. Therefore, the GHSA’s Appeal Board voted 3-1 to deny that an appeal could be made.
John’s Creek will make its final appeal in the process on Monday. It will present its case in front of the Board of Trustees at 10 a.m. A majority vote would be needed to overturn Phillips’ ruling. John’s Creek is ultimately hoping for the opportunity to play a third game in the series.
Even though video is circulating of the play, the GHSA cannot and will not view it.
Video provided to 11Alive shows the play, but it is inconclusive whether or not the runner touched the base because of the quality of the video. Phillips said he is not allowed to look at video because the National Federation of High School Association rules state that video can not be used to review a judgment call situation by an umpire.
“We’ve stated that over and over and over again,” Phillips said. “This is not the NFL. This is not Major League Baseball. There are schools all over the United States who cannot afford the video equipment that it would take to put video in play.”
Phillips said he doesn’t see that rule changing any time soon despite some schools in the U.S. using replays in championship games. The GHSA has not signed onto that policy.
John’s Creek also tried to argue the fact that the winning run touched home and that it did not matter if the runner going to third touched the bag, according to Phillips. He said that is a misunderstanding of the rules.
“We don’t play NCAA rules. We play by National Federation rules. And National Federation of High School Association rules require each runner advancing in each situation to touch the base ahead of them,” he said.
While Johns Creek has not publicly commented on specifics, they have Tweeted out their determination in fighting the umpires’ ruling.