Celebration on the field and jubilation on the bus as captured by our @cfieldsports Twitter account from the Clover Hill Cavaliers baseball team was quickly evaporated late Saturday night as a protest to the Virginia High School League (VHSL) by Douglas Freeman regarding a violation of pitching rules was upheld, ending Clover Hill's plans for a game Sunday in the 5A South Region Championship, and, more importantly, a date in next week's 5A State Baseball Tournament.
The Rebels filed a protest in the middle of the game, apparently over the use of pitcher Kyle Hasforth. Hasforth pitched four innings Tuesday night in the quarterfinals against Deep Run, a game which was suspended due to weather that night and not resumed until Friday afternoon at the University of Richmond, and won by the Cavaliers 9-1.
Hasforth started Saturday's semifinal against the Rebels at Deep Run High School, and by VHSL rule, could pitch no more than three innings. The guidelines state:
"If a pitcher pitches four to seven innings in one day that pitcher shall have two calendar days of rest from competition pitching beginning with the day following the first day a pitch is thrown. Further restrictions regarding this section include:
- After two days of rest a pitcher may pitch a maximum of two innings.
- After three days of rest a pitcher may pitch a maximum of three innings."
As Hasforth pitched four innings on Tuesday, he had three days of rest (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), and thus could pitch three innings in Saturday's game. He was allowed, however, to take the mound in the fourth inning, completing that inning, and then was replaced in the fifth. The Rebels filed the protest after the pitching occurred in the fourth inning.
Tournament officials and coaches met regarding the protest during a rain delay in the fifth inning thanks to a sudden downpour at Deep Run. It was agreed that the game would be concluded.
Jacob Fontana, who pitched three innings of shutout relief striking out three, led off the top of the tenth with a double to left-center, then advanced to third on a bunt single down the third base line by Jonathan Triesler. Kyle Ryan hit a deep sacrifice fly to left-center, scoring Fontana.
Stephen Baughan pitched the final inning and a third for the Cavaliers, striking out three to seal, at the time, the victory. But within the hour after the end of the game, rumors began to circulate on social media about the protest.
After working multiple sources, RVA Sports Network was able to confirm the upheld protest and the fact that Clover Hill had forfeited the game. It was an incredibly disappointing end to a season for the Cavaliers that had surprised many people, but not the players themselves.
The following county teams will compete next week for state championships at the 4A and 6A levels:
Midlothian Boys Tennis: Trojans host Loudoun County in 4A State Semifinal action beginning Monday.
Midlothian Girls Tennis: Trojans host John Handley in 4A State Semifinal action beginning Monday.
Midlothian Boys Lacrosse: Trojans travel to Loudoun Valley in Purcellville for 4A State Semifinal on Tuesday at 7pm.
Midlothian Girls Soccer: Trojans will face Heritage in a 4A State Semifinal on Friday at 10am at Amherst County High School near Lynchburg.
Cosby Boys Soccer: Titans face James Madison in a 6A State Semifinal on Friday at 5pm at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax.
James River Boys Soccer: The Rapids face Langley in a 6A State Semifinal on Friday at 7pm at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax.
In nearby news, the Colonial Heights baseball team saw their dream season come to a disappointing end Saturday, falling 7-4 in eight innings to Loudoun Valley in the 3A East Region Baseball Semifinals. With the loss, their first and only of the season, the Colonials' campaign ended with a record of 21-1.