St. Louis area high schools Webster Groves and Seckman met on the softball field in late September. The game was tied at two in the fifth inning. With a runner on, Webster’s Madyson Stallcup drove a pitch deep to left field. It went way back. Seckman’s left fielder threw her hands up, but was the ball gone?
The ball went over the fence. From the visiting dugout, the Webster team thought it was a home run. The officials weren’t so sure. They believed it bounced in play and then hopped the fence, resulting in a ground-rule double. Webster Groves coach Bryan Gibson came out of the dugout and quietly discussed his view of the play with Mike Wyatt, the home plate umpire. Wyatt said he couldn’t see the play clearly as sunlight was beaming directly toward his position. “Since the left fielder threw her hands up, I thought it was a ground-rule double. And the fact that my partner did not see it either left me no choice other than to call what I thought it was based on the best information that I had.”
With that ruling, Seckman head coach Steve Bonastia sprung from his dugout and made his case. More to the point, he made Webster Groves’ case. He told Wyatt that the ball hit the yellow line at the top of the fence and went over – making it a home run. Bonastia said he wanted the Webster Groves player to get full credit for what she had done.
“Steve had a much clearer view of the play from our bench,” said Seckman Athletic Director Brad Duncan. “He thought the hit was a home run all along.”
The call was reversed and Webster Groves took a 4-2 lead. The home run proved to be the difference as the visitors won 4-3. In a postgame report to the Missouri State High School Activities Association, Wyatt wrote, “This was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in high school sports. The [coaches] displayed over-the-top sportsmanship and I told my partner, ‘you will never see anything like this again.’”