May 20, 2010 10:25:00 AM
The Mississippi High School Activities Association will rule this morning about a rules violation that occurred in the Bruce-Hamilton Class 2A North Half State title series.
Caleb Hanley pitched 4 2/3 innings Saturday in Bruce High''s 6-5 win against Hamilton in game three of the best-of-three series. The victory helped the Trojans earn the right to play for the Class 2A state title.
But Hanley''s status was called into question after it was learned he pitched seven innings Monday against Eupora in game three of the semifinal-round series. He then pitched six innings Friday in a 10-0 victory against Hamilton in game two.
His total of 17 2/3 innings is more than the allotment of 17 innings in a week mandated in the MHSAA 2009-10 handbook.
MHSAA spokesperson Phyfa Eiland said Monday morning that at that time the association hadn''t received a formal complaint, which is required to be in writing. She said Tuesday morning that the MHSAA received a written complaint Monday afternoon.
Eiland said the MHSAA planned to release its ruling later this morning.
Hamilton High baseball coach Lewis Earnest said early this morning that the MHSAA hadn''t notified the school of its decision.
On Monday, Earnest said he didn''t feel good about the situation because he likes Bruce High coach Sid Burt and he knows Hanley pitching more than 17 innings wasn''t intentional.
Still, he feels he had to fight for his players, especially considering another school would have submitted a complaint if his program had broken a rule.
Earnest said Monday that Hamilton High was going to give Bruce High the opportunity to report the incident to the MHSAA.
It was unclear at press time if Bruce High or another party submitted written notification of the incident to the MHSAA.
Bruce led 6-3 entering the bottom of the fifth inning with Hanley, who started the game, still on the mound. Hanley retired the first two batters before Dylan Earnest doubled and Chase Reeves walked. Jay King came on to relieve Hanley and got out of the jam.
Kevin McCartney and Earnest hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but it wasn''t enough for the Lions.
The MHSAA baseball state title series are scheduled to be played May 25-29 at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.