Did South Torrance get robbed of a run in 5-4 loss to Northview? It sure looks like it .. We’ve got video, you decide


Here’s how I described Tuesday’s controversial call in Northview’s 5-4 win over South Torrance. The new video that surfaced seems to show that the South Torrance runner may have touched home. In Tuesday’s story I wrote: South Torrance was still trying to understand a controversial call moments earlier that took its go-ahead run away.
Trailing 4-2 in the top of the seventh, South Torrance loaded the bases with one out. Kyle Henmi doubled in the gap to score the tying runs with the go-ahead runner, Josh Rotuna, rounding third and colliding with Vikings catcher Gabe Rojo in a play at the plate. The umpire ruled Rotuna out, then after noticing that Rojo dropped the ball, ruled him safe, giving South Torrance a 5-4 lead. Northview appealed, arguing the runner never touched home and the umpire agreed, ruling the runner out at home, tying the score 4-4.
“The (umpire) called him out, then safe, then they rule he never touched the plate, a little confusing, “South coach Grady Sain said. “He (runner) wasn’t ruled out until after the play was dead and then they appealed.
“It’s one of those things where it could have gone either way and unfortunately it went their way.” Northview will advance to the quarterfinals to face Oaks Christian. Vikings coach Darren Murphy said he had a clear view of the play at home.
“It (the call) was a huge momentum changer but at the end of the day coaches always want the right call and that was the right call,” Murphy said. “He never touched home plate. Rojo’s tag knocked him off his feet and he was never within two or three feet of the plate.”
This was obviously much closer than two or three feet. It appears Rotuna’s foot did swipe home. In any case, tough for any of the umpires to know for sure, so surprised the call was changed on appeal. If I had to make the call based on the video, I’d rule him safe.

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  • ballplayersdad

    Horrible call! Home cooking if you ask me!

    • You have to wonder what the ump was thinking on the appeal? There were a lot of things to watch, the play, the ball bouncing out and whether he touched home. I think because Northview argued so convincingly, the ump took a shot and called him out. Otherwise, if the ump clearly saw him miss home in the first place, why did he rule him safe after the ball dropped?

      • Steve Ramirez

        Inconclusive because the video view is too far away to honestly tell if
        his foot is on the plate. Maybe South coach should have argued if
        there’s any shoe black on the plate. But since Northview won it 5-4 on a
        bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning, then they probably win it 6-5 anyway. Sounds a bit sour grapes by the South video person.

        • i agree with Stevie.. video is inconclusive whether or not his foot grazed plate.. imo

          • In the “freeze frame” it looks like he touched. In any case, my argument is in a play THAT CLOSE, kind of tough for an umpire to agree to change the “safe” call to an “out” call on appeal. Unless the umpire is a 100 percent certain he missed home, which is tough to decide, even in slow mo on the video, you don’t change your call.

          • Steve Ramirez

            Looks and what actually happened can be two different things. You said the home plate ump conferred with the infield ump, which probably had an easier view to make the call. When I took a officiating class at Cal State Fullerton, that’s one of the things we learned, What might look one way because of your view or obstruction, might be clear to the other official. But since Northview rallied to score a run in the bottom of the inning, the question is kind of moot.

          • Steve, Mr Base Umpire was following the batter/runner all the way to 3rd…he must have been 75 feet away from home, to confer with him on this call would be asinine

          • FredJ

            Before the video, I thought I remembered the umpires discussing it for a sec, but that wasn’t the case.

  • the umpire should have not called him safe if he didn’t touch the plate….no called should have been made, that way,while the ball is still “alive” both the offensive and defensive teams know that the catcher dropped the ball and that obviously the runner missed touching the plate…Mr. Plate Umpire really botched this call

    • FredJ

      The umpire’s real mistake is calling the runner out before confirming
      whether the catcher hung on to the ball, you’re absolutely right.

    • Ross Cohan

      you are 100% correct!

  • Harvey Wendelstadt

    You can’t call a runner safe unless they have touched the base (or at least you think they have touched the base). That is the definition of safe, “a baserunner is safe when he reaches a base without being put out by various ways”. Once you call safe, you have verified (to the best of your knowledge) that the base was touched, there is no going back. There is a little leeway when you call “out”, because the call could be made before the umpire realizes that the fielder doesn’t have possession of the ball, ball can pop out of the glove, sometimes the fielder doesn’t even have the ball but still applies the tag, the umpire will change the call quickly once possession or lacktherof has been established. In either case, it is pretty crazy to think that this could be overturned minutes later, especially a “safe” call. If he didn’t touch the base, why did you call him safe?

    Also, somewhat crazy to think that the next inning would have played out
    in the exact same manner. I don’t think the universe works like that, but
    I guess that is a whole different argument (and probably a whole other blog).

    • it’s HARRY Wendelstadt,everybody knows that younger brother Harvey was an interior decorator…*wink*

  • Valley Athletics

    Umpire made the call to soon . He did have the better view .once it was called safe ,it shouldn’t of been over turned . Because it was called safe the player did not think twice and touch plate again to make sure he touched in case he missed . If the umpire does not make any call and the play is alive coaches would yell to touch plate or something . Coach should of argued more and ask for a cif official.

  • Ross Cohan

    The home plate ump conferred with NOBODY! He blew the initial call, then had to change his call to Safe when the catcher dropped the ball. To reverse his call a THIRD time is a homer call if I’ve ever seen one. It was way too close to call the runner out (who appeared to have touched the plate). It is too bad for the South Torrance team who battled back to tie and take the lead (until they took a run off the board and added an out). Northview’s Coach fabricated everything he said about the play and did a disservice to his team, players and the integrity of the game. I’m sure he is friends with the home plate ump who has been banned from officiating any more playoff games in this tourney.