A disagreement in softball is nothing new, whether it be an argument about a safe call at first base or an out call at home plate. But it is rare when a disagreement is over a chin strap.
Well, that was the case during May 5’s Lincoln-Madison softball game. Heading into the top of the fourth inning, the lady Knights were leading 3-1 and Lincoln was threatening with the bases loaded and only one out.
At this point, Lincoln head coach Carlos Gonzalez sent out a pinch hitter to the plate but there was a problem – her helmet was missing a chin strap.
After looking everywhere for a strap, Gonzalez decided to ask the umpire if he had permission to ask Madison coach Bill Dumont for one. But the alleged response from Dumont shocked Gonzalez, as he was allegedly told “absolutely not” by the Madison skipper, according to the Lincoln coach.
After Dumont reportedly refused, the lady Railsplitters had no choice but to follow the umpire crew’s ruling of forfeiting the inning with bases loaded.
“They [the chin straps] must have fallen off. I explained the situation to the umpire and the opposing coach. But [Dumont] refused. My father [Assistant Coach Carlos Gonzalez Sr.] was trying to explain to him about sportsmanship. But [Dumont] simply refused and said, ‘You need to be a man about it’ to my father,” said Gonzalez.
This comes in the wake of a softball incident out of Seattle that attracted national attention. In late April, during a Division II softball game between Western Oregon University and Seattle, a WOU player hurt her knee after hitting a three-run homer while rounding the bases. In a great show of sportsmanship, two opposing players carried her around the bases for her to get credit for the home run, which, by doing so, also knocked their own team out of the postseason.
Lucy Acevedo, a parent from Lincoln, filed a formal complaint to the PSAL concerning this situation.
Ultimately, PSAL softball commissioner Tiffany Howerton ruled that the game should be replayed, at an available date not set as of press time, from the top of the fourth inning with the bases loaded and one out. Howerton’s decision was impacted by the lack of a thorough inspection of both team’s equipment prior to the start of the game by umpiring crew and felt that the rule of having Lincoln forfeit the entire inning was a rule that the umpires had imposed and it was not a rule in the PSAL softball rule book.
Calls to Madison’s athletic department regarding the incident were not returned by press time.