The CIF-Southern Section forfeited Alhambra High School’s 3-2 softball victory over Duarte after the Falcons protested Thursday’s Division 5 first-round game, alleging the Moors conducted illegal pre-game batting practice, which is against CIF playoff policy.
Duarte and Alhambra school officials met with CIF-SS representatives on Monday in Cerritos, and Duarte provided a video of the alleged incident for CIF officials to review.
After completing interviews and gathering information, the CIF-SS ruled that an illegal batting practice took place, and per CIF policy, forfeited Alhambra’s victory to Duarte.
Duarte (20-3), the fourth seed, advances to Tuesday’s second round at South El Monte (14-10) at 3:15 p.m.
The CIF-SS issued a written statement, which reads in part: “It was determined after meeting with representatives to both schools and receiving video tape and officials statements that a violation had occurred and the violation was such as to warrant the removal from the playoffs of the Alhambra team.”
At Thursday’s game, Alhambra coach John Zabala admitted the Moors threw pitches with a wiffle ball before the start.
Duarte coach Paul Viteri protested to the umpires before the game, although Zabala said he didn’t know that the game was being played under protest until he tried to shake Viteri’s hand in the postgame greeting.
“We do it the way we always do,” Zabala said on Thursday. “We take about five feet off to the side and we use wiffles.”
A CIF-SS tournament bulletin from assistant commissioner Scott Raftery specifically says that any type of batting practice with any type of ball, including wiffle balls, is illegal.
The rule says that “includes bunting or slap hitting … 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, underhand tossing, overhand throwing or pepper). The only acceptable batting warmup will be side soft toss. The player who tosses the ball should be on a knee and to the side of the batter. The ball should be lifted, not pitched, to the batter… .”
“We showed them (the rule) before the game started,” Viteri said. “That’s what they were doing. That’s batting practice.
“We didn’t do it. To me, I thought it was an advantage.”