Question: When is a 10-0 game not a 10-0 game?
Answer: When the adults mess things up and the game is ruled a double forfeit.
On the field, the Juneau East All-Stars beat Juneau West 10-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning Monday in round-robin pool play in the Southeast Alaska District 2 Major Division (age 11-12) Little League Baseball Tournament at Miller Field No. 1.
Officially, though, neither team won as the game was declared a double forfeit because each team violated the participation rule that requires all players to get at least one at-bat and to be in the field for at least a full inning on defense.
Both teams met the defensive part of the participation rule, but each team had one player - Brendan Daugherty for Juneau East and Mark Idone for Juneau West - who hadn't had a plate appearance when the game ended early because of the 10-run mercy rule. When Juneau East's 10th run crossed the plate and the umpires declared the game over, both teams submitted protests and the decision left the playing field. Had the runner held up at third base, Daugherty was the next hitter for Juneau East. Idone was slated to lead off the top of the fifth inning for Juneau West.
"The game is over. It's a regulation game and the home team is up by 10 runs," home plate umpire Chris Morrow announced to the people sitting in the stands. "Protests have been lodged by both teams over the participation rule. The tournament committee is deliberating, and the umpires are done."
Tournament director Lisa Baker, whose husband Rod manages and son Dylan plays on the Juneau East team, made a call to District 2 Administrator Duane Bell in Petersburg. Bell then had to call someone in the Little League home offices in Williamsport, Pa. - at midnight their time - to get the double-forfeit ruling. Each team takes a loss in the pool-play standings, and Lisa Baker said she still needs to find out exactly how the forfeits will affect the tie-breaker rules which are based on defensive runs allowed per inning.
"I don't like a game to end on a protest," Juneau West manager Dennis Holloway said. "The fact is we live and die by the rule book. ... They won the game, obviously, but they were wrong and we were wrong."
"Who'd a thunk it," said Juneau East's Rod Baker, adding that by the time he realized what was happening it was too late to hold 10th-run scorer Ty McMichael up at third base so Daugherty could hit and make the game legal. "It's a good thing this happened to the two Juneau teams and not against Ketchikan or Sitka. We'll be in the final. We're the best team here."
As for the athletes, one Juneau East player called it a rip off before asking that his name not be used.
Juneau East, which has yet to allow a run in the tourney, scored five times in the first inning and added four more in the third to take a 9-0 lead. It was the run scored in the fifth, driven in by Tony Tompkins, that created the problems. Pitcher Kyle Fossman allowed just three hits, including two doubles by Juneau West's Dominic Holloway.
"In the first inning I started up high, but in the next inning I was hiding the ball better," Fossman said.
"We felt like we were having batting practice," Vinnie Isturis said.
Derrick Esguerra hit a three-run double for Juneau East in the first, while Isturis started the rally with a ground-rule double. Fossman also drove in a run in the first. In the third inning Juneau East had four hits and used five Juneau West errors for its runs, with an RBI double by Torey Franzen and an RBI from Dylan Baker.
"I thought it would be caught, easy. I didn't even see it," Esguerra said of his double.
"I also thought mine would be caught. I just ran," Franzen said.
In today's round-robin games, Ketchikan plays Sitka at noon, Wrangell plays Juneau East at 3 p.m. and Prince of Wales takes on Juneau West at 6 p.m., while Petersburg has a bye.
Sitka 9, Prince of Wales 3
D.J. Hatmaker hit a two-run homer and David Reynolds hit a two-run triple in a six-run fourth inning as Sitka knocked off Prince of Wales.
Hatmaker also doubled and scored twice. Michael Svenson was the winning pitcher and had two hits and a run. Jake Sharp doubled and scored for Prince of Wales.
Ketchikan 15, Petersburg 0
Erik Rauro doubled, scored three runs and threw three innings of hitless ball as Ketchikan knocked off Petersburg in a game called after 3 1/2 innings because of the 10-run rule.
Toré Singstad scored twice and threw one inning of one-hit relief for Ketchikan. Bryan Moody doubled and scored twice, while Simon Brooks and Jasper Reese doubled and scored once. Paul Forrester scored two runs and Seth Schum doubled for Ketchikan. Chris Haerling had Petersburg's only hit.