Outrage at rule change
COACHES from first-division softball are calling for the scrapping of a new rule that prevents any team from scoring more than seven runs in an innings.
Under the Bundaberg Softball Association rule a team trailing by more than seven runs in the final innings of a match would not be able to chase the score.
“It’s not in the spirit of softball,” Souths Sluggers coach Alison Norton said.
A phone poll of division-one women’s coaches found that three of the four wanted the rule to be dumped immediately.
“It’s an alright rule for juniors and the lower divisions but it’s out of place in A-grade,” United coach David Gear said.
Even Wests Panthers coach Michelle McKeown, who benefits from the rule, would like to see it removed.
But umpiring director Michael Trost has staunchly defended the rule, saying it was needed to restore fair playing time to less-talented clubs.
“We had a situation where players are paying to play 90 minutes a week but they were getting less than an hour,” Trost said.
“Sometimes teams were spending more than 45 minutes off the field and not everyone was getting a bat.”
Disparity within the league was turning players away from softball, Trost said.
“If you are in a position where you’re getting flogged, and you’re not getting a bat each week, you’re not going to come back next year,” he said.
Trost also accused coaches of not using the former rule, which allowed coaches to “declare” an innings when the score got out of reach for an opposition.
“We had a voluntary-declaration rule but some coaches were not using it so we had to step in and act,” he said.
The rule is expected to be a topic of hot debate when the league executive committee meets this month.
Trost said the executive committee would consider the rule if there was enough support for a change.
“If there is a majority of players and clubs that want a change then we will have to look at it,” he said.