The New Hope softball team has a bit of new life.
After losing Game 3 of their MHSAA Class 5A second-round playoff series Tuesday at Vicksburg, the Trojans will have an opportunity to replay the final game and perhaps take the series after all.
That’s because New Hope coach Casey Finch Halford lodged a protest with the MHSAA after a home run by the Gators’ Lexi Kistler in the seventh inning of Vicksburg’s 9-3 win. Finch Halford noticed a softball used by the home team was not MHSAA approved: It was not the official Wilson Championship Series brand and lacked an official National Fast Pitch High School Association stamp. The Trojans played the rest of the contest, a 9-6 loss, under protest.
On Wednesday morning, the MHSAA ruled that Game 3 will be replayed at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Vicksburg.
According to the Vicksburg Post, Gators coach Brian Ellis had a few balls without the official stamp among those in his bucket. He insisted he was not trying to cheat, but MHSAA executive director Rickey Neaves said the intent was immaterial.
“It was an honest mistake, but it was a mistake that has to be rectified by playing another game,” Neaves told the Post. “It’s the letter of the law. If it’s in the rulebook, we’re going to go by it.”
The winner of Thursday’s replayed game will advance to face Saltillo in the state quarterfinals. That series has been moved from Friday and Saturday to Monday and Tuesday.