Update: Dartmouth High baseball team ends postseason in semi-finals
A postseason dominated by wins and strong defense came to a confusing and frustrating end for the Dartmouth High baseball team on June 13, as the team suffered a lopsided 20-2 defeat to North Attleboro in the Div. 2 South semi-finals.
Despite starting the game with the first run after a half-hour rain delay, the Indians were so outmatched against the No. 1 seeded Rockets that the game was mistakenly called early under the “mercy rule” and had to be resumed after the mistake was discovered.
The Rockets’ game took off in the second inning, as the team turned its 3-1 lead into a 10-1 lead by the end of the inning. In the third, the Indians picked up its last run of the game, but the Rockets held a 12-2 lead.
That was when Head Coach Mike Frates was told by the umpires that the mercy rule was in effect. Under the rule, the game would end if the Rockets secured 15 runs by the end of the fifth inning.
With a 17-2 “final” score, both teams shook hands and left the dugouts following the fifth inning. As grounds crews cleaned up the field, the mistake was discovered: the mercy rule does not apply to tournament games past the quarter finals, according to Dartmouth High Athletic Director Jeff Caron.
Caron said that prompted an additional concern: a request to restart the fifth inning instead of simply continuing the game.
“The inning was played under the impression the 15-run rule was in play,” Caron said, adding that both teams adjusted strategies to compensate. North Attleboro played more aggressively to get runs quickly, while Dartmouth shifted its focus to getting quick outs to prevent the game from ending.
The concerns were deemed non-contestable and the game resumed from where it had left off.
The Rockets went on to pick up three more runs before the game officially ended with North Attleboro ahead 20-2.
Despite the loss, Caron noted the team enjoyed an overall successful season. He highlighted the team’s ability to overcome the loss of its star pitcher, junior Jake Cruz, due to an injury early in the season.
“They really stepped up the pitching and defense has been terrific all season,” Caron said.
The Indians closed out the regular season with a 13-7 regular season record, and were Old Colony League champions. With a 2-1 tournament record, the team is 15-8 overall.