The quality of WIAAs mercy is not strained
June 12, 2008 · Updated 1:33 PM
A colleague was engaged in an intense debate with an official from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.
The reporter didnt have immediate access to players and coaches following Bellevues 39-20 win in the 2004 Emerald City Kickoff Classic that ended the record 151-game win streak by Californias De La Salle High School.
Its not about you; its about the kids, was the officials response.
Saturdays baseball game between Bothell and South Kitsap lacked the historical implications of that football game, but the WIAAs membership would do well to heed its own advice.
Because what happened at Kent Memorial certainly wasnt about the kids.
After months of preparation, the Wolves fell victim to a more talented team.
Thats the way it usually plays out in sports, but at least theres a 10-run rule that helps keep games for getting too far out of control.
Souths fastpitch team took advantage of that a day earlier in the West Central District Tournament when Rogers scored five runs in the sixth inning to take a 13-3 lead to end the game.
But at the state level, it wasnt enough that the Cougars led 20-2 entering the bottom of the fifth inning.
It didnt matter that the Wolves pitching staff, with a No. 1 starter who doesnt throw much harder than 75 mph, encountered a lineup that wasnt fooled by breaking balls outside the strike zone and pounded everything that ventured back over the plate.
If it truly is about the kids, why play two more innings of a game that already had been decided? Why does Mike OBrien, who moved back to Port Orchard from Hawaii so he could play baseball with his friends one last time, need this?
How about Adam Douty, who played this year despite being a father, and became the Wolves No. 1 starter after not even making varsity as a junior. What did he do to deserve this?
Or catcher Todd Dalrymple, who persevered through limited playing time and didnt start until Shawn Stayton was injured.
Then theres varsity mainstay and leadoff hitter Tyler Sartor, the player who moved from second base to shortstop to get another good hitter in the lineup.
These seniors deserved better from the adults who make the rules.
Coaches like to remind everyone that state is a reward for their athletes.
In this case, the enduring memory for the aforementioned seniors is a 23-2 loss the worst in 46 state-tournament games for South.
Where exactly is the prize in this?
The only explanation for a rule change for state-level games is to protect the integrity of the game. After all, theres a minuscule chance a team might overcome a 10-run deficit in the final innings to win.
Of course, it works the other way as well. The Cougars, who won their first state game in school history last year, just were looking to advance in the playoffs.
That meant doing whatever was possible not to further embarrass the Wolves in the final inning by substituting liberally and trying to take an extra base in hopes of getting thrown out.
Doesnt exactly sound like baseball the way it was meant to be played.
And if the WIAA and the coaches who impose these rules are so concerned about the games spirit, why does it still allow a courtesy runner in the playoffs?
Does a 16-year-old boy have trouble getting around the bases?
That would be pretty embarrassing.
Sort of like allowing a team to be humiliated.
Sports editor Chris Chancellor c an be reached
at 876-4414, or by e-mail at