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Fullerton awarded forfeit win; advances to second round

OCVARSITY EDITOR

The CIF-SS announced Friday afternoon that Torrance would have to forfeit its win over Fullerton on Thursday in the first round of the CIF-SS baseball playoffs for violating rules against batting practice before postseason games.

Because of the violation, Fullerton will be awarded the victory and will advance to the second round Tuesday. The Indians will be at home against California of Whittier.

"It's good news, it's surprising," said Fullerton coach Tony Gonzalez shortly after the announcement was made.

"To be honest, none of the players are around to tell them about it. I sent them all a text. ... They seem excited about it. There's been a lot of texting about it, and they're excited about having another game."

Gonzalez said that Fullerton played the game under protest on Thursday after arriving at the game and seeing Torrance players working in the batting cages with one of the team's coaches.

"It raised some red flags for us," Gonzalez said. "We were 50-50 on whether it was a violation, but we told the umpires before the game that we would be playing it under protest."

The CIF-SS statement said the decision was "based on the CIF-SS Bluebook Bylaw 1522.2 that states:

Teams entered in the baseball playoff s will not be permitted to take batting practice on the day of a playoff game prior to the commencement of the contest. Batting practice will be construed as ANY type of pitching motion with ANY type of ball from in front of the batter (including pitching machines and overhand throwing).

With the consultation and support of the CIF Southern Section Baseball Coaches Advisory Committee, the rules are as follows … THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE BATTING WARMUP WILL BE SIDE SOFT TOSS, BATTING TEE WORK OR PEPPER."

Gonzalez said it was his understanding that all teams received an email with similar language in it on May 16.

"I just think they (CIF-SS) are just trying to make it fair for both teams. It's a luxury to be the home team and to be able to take batting practice when the visiting team can't," Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez said Fullerton's coaches were surprised that Torrance players were hitting in the batting cages considering what the teams had been told.

"That raised a red flag for all of our coaches," he said. "We had to mention it (because it appeared to be a violation.)

"I know Torrance is going to be upset. They have an outstanding ballclub," Gonzalez said. "But if I didn't say something, it would have let our players and parents down. It would have let them down, and I couldn't do that." 

Gonzalez said the forfeit was a bit of good news during a difficult week for the team. The players found out Wednesday afternoon that junior pitcher Brendon Vos has leukemia, and they called off practice that day to spend time at the hospital with him.

"The players were in tears, and to be honest, I was in tears too," Gonzalez said.

"I'm not making excuses, but I think with everything that has transpired, it was still kind of looming over them (the players) when the game started Thursday."

The Indians lost to Torrance, 4-1.

Gonzalez said the team would hold a "quick practice" on Saturday and then hold a regular practice Monday afternoon to get ready to play California.

"We're ready to get back it," Gonzalez. "I think the players will be excited to have a chance to get back on the field."  


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