Baseball playoff hopes decimated

Max Clark, SciTech Editor

Their aspirations had no limit. They had the momentum to make a run toward States. Then, they were struck with an anonymous letter stating that one of their players who had recently transferred to Palmetto was not playing under the applied regulations of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA).

Palmetto’s varsity baseball team was forced to forfeit nine of its already played games, six of which were in district. The team finished 3-7 in district, losing the tiebreaker against Coral Reef and Varela. However, if the games had not been forfeited, the baseball team would have been 8-2 and in second place. This was the result of faulty paperwork, some of which is missing.

“The transfer was not a complete and full move and there were certain documents that were missing with the transfer,” Athletic Director Yvette McKinney said.

The team received word of the forfeited games right before spring break, which began on March 4. After the annual spring break tournament in Sarasota, the team lost two key games, blowing leads of four runs in each game.

“We lost a lot of one-run games this season, which we normally win,” Head Coach Mike Klekotka said. “This was the first time we haven’t made Districts in a while and the way we were playing, we could have gone far.”

The team won five of its last six games following the reinstatement of the transferred player. According to Klekotka, the forfeited games were not detrimental to the morale of the team toward the player.

“There was a great deal of support for the player that caused the forfeits,” Klekotka said. “When he was eligible we got hot at the right time.”

The player who caused the forfeits had no comment on the matter.

Members of the baseball team feel sympathetic toward those players who could not go further during the season, especially the seniors.
“As a senior it really makes you value all the games you’ve played,” senior Yale Sanford said. “I feel especially bad for those that worked hard all four years and couldn’t go to States.”

Others resent what happened for personal reasons.

“The team worked so hard,” senior Dustin Delgado said. “It’s the last time I’ll be able to play baseball with my little brother.”

Although they will never be able to get those forfeited games back, the baseball team continues to persevere and take steps for next season. The players consider themselves a unit and would not change a thing from the season.

“It was disappointing but it didn’t hurt us,” junior Todd Smith said. “We don’t regret anything. He is a part of the family.”