YATESVILLE – The Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 baseball championship wound up being decided on a forfeit.
Pittston Area and Wyoming Valley West each took themselves out of contention when their school administrators chose to forfeit the next game – which was also the final game of the regular-season schedules – following an altercation between the two teams in their May 11 game at Pittston Area.
Crestwood won the division when its forfeit win over Pittston Area Monday gave the Comets an 8-5 record, one game better than Pittston Area, Wyoming Valley West, Coughlin and Hazleton Area, which all finished 7-6.
Pittston Area had beaten host Crestwood, 5-3, when the teams met on the field early in the season.
Both teams continue into Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 2 playoffs. Chairman Frank Majikes said Tuesday the district is gathering information from the schools and will review the matter after all information is available.
Wyoming Valley West had two players ejected from the May 11 game, which Pittston Area won, 4-3. No Patriots were ejected.
One ejection came following a play at home plate, which led to an incident between the two players involved. Players from both teams spilled out of the dugouts and onto the field until security, umpires and coaches could restore order.
A Spartans pitcher was ejected after hitting a Patriot with a pitch later in the game.
Following the game, questions were raised about whether many more players should have been subject to ejections for violating National Federation rules when they left the dugouts.
Wyoming Valley West school officials first announced they would forfeit the final game as punishment for their players’ actions.
Pittston Area followed suit with superintendent Kevin Booth informing District 2 and WVC officials the team would forfeit its game.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Pittston Area athletic director Charlie Turco said in a Wednesday interview. “The kids did break the rule.”
Though not condoning the reaction, Turco said, “It’s human nature that kids protect and defend their teammate.”
It is unclear whether there will be any further sanctions against either school.
Turco and assistant principal Chris Lazevnick were both in attendance and have written reports about what they witnessed.
“I wrote what I saw, turned it into our principal (John Haas),” Turco said. “He’ll compile everything and turn it into the district.”
Wyoming Valley West forfeited a crossover game to Wyoming Area.
With the win, the Warriors finished 6-7 to tie for third place, but finished one game short of a playoff for what could have been their third straight Division 2 title. The Warriors wound up in a third-place tie behind Dallas and Tunkhannock.
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