(Bluffton) – What was a win Wednesday night to even up the South Carolina High School League state softball championship series with Byrnes High School… now isn’t! In a crazy day involving a game protest, site and time changes and many twists and turns, the final outcome is a partial game replay of Game #2 between the Bluffton Bobcats and Byrnes. The biggest question is: did the Beaufort County School District have “Bluffton’s back”?
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The two teams were scheduled to play a deciding Game #3 in Lexington Friday evening at 6pm. But with the successful protest and appeal now part of Game #2 has to be replayed. Byrnes suggested finishing the game at Lexington at 6pm and then playing the second game. But Lexington declined to hold the partial doubleheader. Sources tell me it was in defense of Bluffton (now losing home field advantage for the remainder of Game #2).
It all centered around a controversial call in the top of the fifth inning. With a Byrnes batter swinging and missing a strike three, she proceeded to head toward first base. Since first base had been occupied, rules state you can’t head to first. She was ejected for “major unsportsmanlike conduct.” The runner at first was made to return from second base back to first (she advanced on the third strike which was also a wild pitch). Is your head spinning yet? That’s the way officials and coaches felt all day Thursday.
Late Wednesday evening the Beaufort County School District stepped in and announced that the remainder of Game #2 and Game #3 would be played at a neutral site, Spring Valley High School. Dr. Gregory McCord with the district tells WSAV that “after discussions and an agreement with both coaches, they’ve decided to play at Spring Valley at 5pm.” However, Bluffton softball coach Bill Ball tells WSAV that he never spoke with Dr. McCord. He says he had not spoken with anyone with the school district. He would have preferred to keep the home field advantage and finish Game #2 in Bluffton. “I have had no discussion with the district.. the decision was handed down to me.”