The Le Mars baseball team was poised for its first trip to the state tournament last night before a rules violation pulled the rug out from under them. The team had the qualifying banner in hand after beating Sioux City Heelan last night 8-5 in 11 innings, but then had to forfeit the game after a pitching rule violation was revealed.

Roger Barr the director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association says the association got a call that Le Mars had used an ineligible pitcher shortly after the game was over. Barr says they then called the Le Mars coach and athletic director.

“We asked them to check it out to verify if this really happened, because we don’t know we weren’t there. And they both were very, very professional…after we walked through everything and checked their books and everything, they did have a pitching violation. Le Mars used a pitcher who had pitched nine innings Monday night in the district final win against Sergeant Bluff-Luton and he was not eligible to pitch until today.

Barr says the rule was created in 1990. “And it simply states ’16 innings will be the maximum total number of innings that a pitcher may pitch in a given week. For purpose of reference Sunday through Saturday is a week. A pitcher may not pitch in more than nine innings in any one day or any two consecutive says, if so, the ninth inning must be followed by two calendar days rest’. And that was where the violation occurred,” Barr Explains.

Barr says the Le Mars 8-5 win becomes a 7-0 forfeit and Sioux City Heelan goes to the state tournament. He says this is not the first such violation this season as they’ve had several this season, and most of the time the team self reports the violation as he says with the on-line Quickstats everyone usually knows who is pitching and when.

Barr has never seen this happen in a game that was this important. “No, we’ve never had that coming into a substate game like that. Since I’ve been in the office anyway,” Barr says.

Le Mars head coach Trent Eckstaine had to carry the state tournament qualifying banner over to Heelan head coach Andy Osborne. Eckstaine was not available to comment on how the mistake happened.

Heelan advances to the state tournament with a 34-4 record, while Le Mars ends the season at 27-8.