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    Umpire waves off tying home run, ends NJ high school baseball game in controversy

    By Christian Arnold,

    21 days ago

    A New Jersey high school baseball has one team up in arms after a controversial call ended a state tournament game between Northern Highlands and Mount Olive on Wednesday.

    What appeared to be a game-tying three-run home run for Northern Highlands in the top of the seventh was waved off after Mount Olive appealed to the home plate umpire, who ruled the first runner didn’t touch the plate and called him out, reported .

    That wiped away the three runs that would have scored and the would-be-homer instead became the final out, handing Mount Olive a 3-0 win.

    The home-plate umpire said the game-tying runner never actually hit third base. Youtube/

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    Video of the sequence is hard to definitively say whether the first runner did or did not touch home plate.

    The second and third runners, including senior Beckham Stern, who hit the home run, could be clearly seen touching home in the video posted by

    “I just feel bad for the kids, especially the seniors,” Northern Highlands head coach Paul Albarella told the outlet. “It’s a shame that the game had to end on a technicality. I am very proud of my team for their resiliency all season.”

    The game was being played as part of the NJSIAA North Jersey 1, Group 3 state tournament, and the state’s governing body for high school athletics was aware of the controversy that occurred on Wednesday.

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    The call wiped away three runs that would have scored and became the final out, handing Mount Olive a 3-0 win.  Youtube/

    An NJSIAA spokesperson told that “as per the rules, the play in question is not appealable.”

    Several moments had passed before Mount Olive appeared to have appealed the play.

    The Mount Olive catcher walked out to the pitcher’s mound as Northern Highlands celebrated what they thought was a game-changing moment, and then the team’s coach and the rest of its fielders joined together at the mound.


    A Northern Highlands batter even walked up to the plate in preparation to continue to play when the appeal was finally made and the ump made the change in the call.
    The second and third runs could be clearly seen touching the base as they crossed home plate. Youtube/

    “He completely jumped over home plate and missed by like three feet,” Mount Olive coach Zoccolillo told Thursday. “The umpire was standing right there and he saw it. He saw it. And he was watching everybody touch home, and the kid jumped over home plate. So the second kid came around and the third kid came around, so I appealed it. Everybody saw it. Myself, the crowd, everybody saw the kid completely jumped over home plate.”

    Albarella was seen charging to the umpire to argue the call in the video, and Zoccolillo said the Northern Highlands coach was ejected from the game.

    Albarella and the umpire could be seen engaged in a heated conversation and there were several times that the coach had to keep his players back from engaging with the umpire.

    Wednesday was not the first time that a New Jersey high school playoff game was caught in controversy.

    During the winter, a controversial call in a high school basketball game between Manasquan High School and Camden became news across the country after the former had a game-winning basket at the buzzer in the state playoffs overturned.

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