Legion Tourney: Post 87 disqualified from state tourney
What was shaping up to be a championship run at the American Legion state baseball tournament for Post 87 was turned upside down Sunday morning by a ruling from the National American Legion baseball office in Indianapolis.
Following a 12-5 loss to the HiToms Saturday evening, Shelby team officials filed a protest later that night to N.C. Officials that Post 87 player Cesar Trejo participated in an event not sanctioned by American Legion Baseball. That protest was denied initially, but later ruled upon by the commissioners that Trejo would be ineligible the remainder of the tournament but that the HiToms could remain.
At that point, Shelby decided to take it to the national office and a ruling was passed down Sunday morning that Post 87 would be disqualified from the remainder of the tournament.
“Our state commissioners were going to keep them in, but make that player ineligible for the rest of the tournament,” said Area III Commissioner Jim Lippard. “Shelby appealed to national and the last word we got from national was that they overruled our decision and has said that High Point could not play.”
State Chairman Bob Figulski was on site at the tournament and confirmed the disqualification.
“The last thing I saw from national was they (Post 87) were disqualified,” said Figulski. “Post 87 appealed and it was denied.”
So as of Sunday, the HiToms have been removed from the tournament, forfeiting wins they received over Wayne County on Friday and Shelby Saturday. The ruling has created chaos in scheduling at Lexington's Holt-Moffitt Field the rest of the tournament.
Post 87 was in good shape as the tourney entered its third day. The HiToms were 2-0 and preparing to face the Gaston Braves in a winner's bracket game. The victor would be in the driver's seat at 3-0. Instead of getting his young men ready to play, Post 87 head coach Rob Shore was dealing with a ruling he has deemed unfair to his team.
“It is not right,” said Shore. “To beat a really good team like Shelby and you end on a high, then you find this information out the very next morning. It is not fair to the kids, because honestly none of our kids have done anything wrong, according to every single rule that we've read.”
Trejo attended the UnderArmour workout July 11 and 12 in Peachtree, Ga. This particular event is sanctioned by the Baseball Factory, an organization that is a current partner with American Legion baseball. Shore pointed out a rule that can be found on the American Legion Baseball 2014 Tournament Rules and Policies page on the legion.org website.
The rule, found on Page 5, point 5, reads:
“Once American Legion Baseball tournaments begin (District play through World Series play) no player can participate in another amateur baseball event, UNLESS that program has been sanctioned by The American Legion. Currently only Baseball Factory and USA Baseball events have been sanctioned).”
Calls placed to the National Office for their decision on disqualifying Post 87 have not yet been returned.
HiToms' President Greg Suire is seeking clarity on the relationship between the American Legion and Baseball Factory.
“There is a misconception of what exactly our relationship is in regards to the Baseball Factory and American Legion baseball,” he said. “What is and what is not dual participation.”
Though not participating in the tournament any longer, Post 87 players and coaches arrived at Holt-Moffitt Field before the time of their originally scheduled game. They were greeted by friends and family who applauded them as they entered the facility.
“I passed out our badges to all of our kids so they can go over to the tournament so our faces can be seen and people there will understand that we have nothing to hide,” said Shore. “Because there is nothing to hide. Every single kid on that team did everything we asked them to do all year.”