The celebration had to officially wait a couple extra days, but Howard has its victory.
In a battle of first-place teams April 25, Howard and Mt. Hebron found themselves locked in a back-and-forth matchup when heavy rains arrived in the fifth inning and forced the umpires to call the game in the bottom of the sixth.
When play was stopped, Howard had a 7-6 lead on the visiting Vikings courtesy of a seven-run outburst in the team’s half of the fifth inning.
There was some confusion, though, as to whether the game was over. And, after several lengthy discussions between the umpires and coaches, a decision was made that the game would be continued at a later date.
On Monday, however, Howard County Coordinator of Athletics John Davis made the ruling, in accordance with National Federation of State High School Associations softball rules, that because five innings had been completed the game was considered official.
The game reverts to the last completed inning — the fifth — where Howard was ahead, 7-3.
“It was thought that maybe somewhere in our literature that there was a ruling for all games to be completed, but it turns out that isn’t true,” Davis said. “The only thing in our bulletin is that if a game is tied after the minimum innings then it would be completed. In this case, with Howard leading after the minimum five innings, the game is deemed to be a completed game.”
The ruling also affects the completion of the Glenelg and River Hill game Friday that was suspended in the bottom of the sixth as well. That game has also been ruled completed, with River Hill earning a 10-2 victory.
Davis says he can see some clarification being made in the softball bulletin before next season.
“Right now it is addressed in a couple of different places, but I can maybe see it being consolidated for next season so that everyone is on the same page and we don’t run into similar situations in the future,” he said.
Howard improves to 11-1 and has sole possession of first place in the Howard County standings, while Mt. Hebron slips a game behind at 10-2.
Both teams are back in action on Monday afternoon.