Hays baseball team protests claims of ‘unsportsmanlike’ play after game called early

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 9:04 PM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - The Hays Eagles baseball team is claiming that a controversial end to their game on Friday may have cost them a shot at a Legion State Championship. The team is now protesting a decision to end Friday’s game after just three innings of play.

The Hays Eagles were leading Ottawa, 11-0, when American Legion Chairman Steve Queen called the game due to “unsportsmanlike” play.

“Our leadoff guy stole home and I got to third and I said, ‘Do it again?’ And he said, ‘if he is out of the windup.’ And sure enough, out of the windup, I took off for home. I was safe,” said player Brady Kreutzer.

The team is upset the game ended abruptly, but Queen claimed they were trying to run up the score.

“Nobody is rubbing anything in,” said Hays Eagles Head Coach Tanner Willhoft. “All we are doing is trying to get our tiebreakers good to where we give ourselves a chance to get into bracket play.”

The rule book states that the run-rule doesn’t come into effect until after four and a half innings of play. The game ended just after three innings.

“He (Queen) made up rules,” said Willhoft. “He told us there was a ten-run cap.”

Queen told Eyewitness News the ten-run rule has been in place for three years, but it is not yet in the rule book. He said it will be listed before next year’s tournament.

“How does that even make sense at all,” said Willhoft. “It’s like if you have a game that goes 11 to ten or you have a game 15 to ten. They both get ten runs? How is that a good tiebreaker at all?”

The total runs scored are considered when looking at moving on to state bracket play. That’s why Hays is upset. The team thinks having more runs could have helped their chances, but Queen says runs would not have been enough.

“Runs allowed took precedent over that,” said Queen. “Well, the runs that they allowed versus the runs that the rest of the teams had allowed would not have. We would have never got to that portion of it.”

The Hays Baseball Association Board is officially protesting the decision but has not received a response.

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