The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 18, 2013

Jon Gerardi's high school softball column: International rule isn't a good one

I guess you could say I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to sports, particularly when a ruling is made that changes how the game's played.

When the National Football League decided to tweek its overtime rules to allow both teams a possession if the receiving team kicked a field goal on the opening possession, I didn't like it at all.

Play solid defense and don't allow the field goal. That's how I see it. If they kick one, well, that's the game. Tough breaks.

But I digress, that's a discussion for another day.

Some area softball fans may be aware of what's called "the international rule," but for those who don't know what it is, let me explain.

The ruling was passed in late 2008 for high school softball at a PIAA Board of Directors meeting in a 19-10 vote, and was set to take effect in 2009.

What the rule states is that if two teams are tied after nine innings of play, starting in the top of the 10th inning -- and every half inning thereafter until a final is decided -- whoever records the final out in the previous innings automatically starts as a base runner on second in their teams next at-bat with no outs.

The rule was put into play to eliminate lengthy games.

I've been a sports writer now for almost six years and have covered my fair share of softball games, but I honestly can't ever actually recall seeing "the international rule" come into effect since its inception in high school softball in 2009.

That is until this past Saturday.

I was at the Warrior Run and Mifflinburg showdown, a game which starred two of the area's best pitchers in the Defenders' Taylor Parker and Mifflinburg's Alli Lloyd. To probably no one's surprise, it was a pitcher's duel between the two.

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