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Area playoff runs have included unusual play
June 1, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - 8-5A
By Ryan Metcalf
Let’s face it, all of us North Texans are used to hearing about football and basketball when it comes to high school sports. It’s not unusual for an area team to bring a state championship home in those sports. Sometimes, it’s a huge disappointment if they don’t.
What we don’t hear as much about are baseball and softball. A couple of bizarre and rare events have given even passive fans reasons to start paying attention during the UIL playoffs.
Just a few weeks ago, the 5A Region I quarterfinal playoff game between Flower Mound High School and the Plano East softball teams drew some major national attention due to a weird – and arguably outdated – UIL rule at home plate. On a game deciding play at the plate, the home plate umpire signaled safe when the Plano East catcher did not make the initial tag of a sliding Flower Mound base runner. Moments later, he ruled that the Flower Mound runner did not touch the plate – and was out after the catcher made a second attempt at a tag.
Per the rulebook, if the tag and the plate are missed, the umpire should call the runner safe. An appeal can then take place by tagging the runner or home plate. This rule is different than professional baseball rules in which no call is made until the runner touches the plate or is tagged out to avoid the confusion.
Further complicating matters and angering Flower Mound supporters, one replay shows evidence that the runner touching the plate.
Did Plano East get a lucky break? Absolutely, and give team credit for making it all the way to the finals. Hopefully, they have seen the last crazy play of the season as they compete against Klein Collins in today’s state semifinal.
A chance for a rare state baseball title is making area headlines. it’s the first time in 10 years, the area has teams facing off in the regional finals at the 4A and 5A levels in the same year. It’s also the first time the Dallas-Fort Worth area will have someone in the championship game at those levels since 2008.
Just three schools in North Texas have won baseball championships at the highest level of classification in the last 40 years – Duncanville, Arlington Martin, and Plano West.
There’s a good chance that may change this weekend, and in the coming years.
Arlington Martin and Southlake Carroll are tied one game apiece in their best-of-three 5A Region I finals while Rockwall-Heath and Frisco Wakeland are engaging in yet another epic series for the 4A Region II title. The winner of both games go onto the state championship in Round Rock.