Sportsmanship is Not Dead in NJ
Sports at any level tend to bring out people’s most competitive instincts, but sometimes that competitive fire is tempered by sportsmanship. Such was the case recently in an important high school baseball game.
According to The Daily Journal, Pitman High School was playing Schalick for the right to go to the South Jersey Group 1 sectional semifinals. NJSIAA rules state that a pitcher can only throw 150 pitches in a five-day span, obviously trying to preserve young arms.
The Schalick pitcher, Luke Pokrovsky, had pitched on Wednesday and Saturday in their previous wins and was pitching again on Monday. Both the Pitman coach and the Schalick coach were keeping track of the pitch count (as they always do), but they had different numbers regarding the number of pitches thrown.
Pitman coach John Hopely had Pokrovsky at 151 pitches when the Schalick coach, Sean O’Brien, pulled him out of the game, thinking that he had just thrown his 150th pitch.
There was some back and forth and consultation with NJSIAA to clarify the rule, but eventually, it was determined that Pitman had the basis for a protest, which, if upheld, would result in Schalick forfeiting the game they had won 5-4.
So what did Pitman coach Hopely do? Nothing. He didn’t protest, he didn’t lobby for the forfeit, he took the loss rather than trying to advance on a clerical error. He had compiled all the necessary documentation but didn’t send it in. He told the Daily Journal, “I don’t feel right,” he said. “It didn’t affect the game.”
He said that not all of his players (and their parents) agreed with his decision, but he said that if the roles were reversed, he would hate to see his players lose a playoff game due to a technicality.
So, Schalick is advancing, but Pitman High School is a winner, too.