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Leagues Will Determine Mercy Rule for Baseball

January 25, 2002

Leagues Will Determine Mercy Rule for Baseball

The Southern Section council on Thursday overwhelmingly adopted a proposal that will allow individual leagues to decide whether to implement the 10-run mercy rule for baseball starting this season.

If approved, the mercy rule will not be used during the playoffs.

The council rejected at its meeting in Long Beach a proposal that would have limited baseball teams to 30 games before the postseason. Currently, under the section's 20-game rule, teams play between 23 and 31 games depending on the number of teams in their league.

The council discussed a proposal that would increase the number of divisions in girls' water polo from five to six to give the 207 girls' teams an equal number of championships as the 209 boys' teams.

Another proposal brought before the council for discussion seeks to form playoff groupings based on competitive equity in those sports not under the guidelines of enrollment-based divisions for state playoffs. The affected sports would be baseball, boys' and girls' soccer, softball, boys' volleyball, and boys' and girls' tennis.

Under the proposal, all teams from one league would compete in the same playoff division as determined by the strength of the league, the enrollment of its schools and geography.

The council will vote on the water polo and playoff grouping proposals at its March 14 meeting.

Jim Staunton, section commissioner, also said his staff would attempt to remove selected individual records from the next section record book that "stimulate unsportsmanlike conduct" and are incompatible with the Pursuing Victory With Honor campaign. The move was spurred by a recent lopsided water polo contest in which a coach admittedly left a player in the game to achieve a record.

Ben Bolch

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