Ridge Red Devils disqualified from state high school championship due to pitch count

One of New Jersey’s best high school baseball teams has been kicked out of the state playoffs all due to one pitch.

Matt Trapani and Nick Meidanis

May 31, 2023, 2:53 AM

Updated 390 days ago

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One of New Jersey’s best high school baseball teams has been kicked out of the state playoffs all due to one pitch.
The Ridge Red Devils were favored to win their second state title in the last three years. The team steamrolled the Westfield Blue Devils 8-1 in the quarterfinals. But then a protest came in from Westfield over the pitch count.
Officials say that star pitcher Connor Byrne threw one pitch too many.
The state imposes a limit of 150 pitches in five days for high school players so that teenagers don’t hurt their arms. Ridge thought Byrne threw 150 pitches, but Westfield stated that it was 151. A complaint was made to the state’s athletic association following the 8-1 loss.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association sided with Westfield and Ridge was disqualified. The situation has left some players and parents feeling frustrated. Byrne says he is trying to make the best of it.
“Tough pill to swallow. We look back on the positives. It doesn’t change what we accomplished this season,” he says.
Coach Tom Blackwell says this is on him. Every home team is supposed to have an official pitch counter -- but that rarely happens.
But rules do matter. A high school team in New York started celebrating a championship prematurely and never got the final out because of a dropped third strike.
While players say pitch limits are good, it doesn’t make this situation any easier for Ridge.
"The human side you learn you go through hardships. It's not always fair, but that's alright,” Ridge second baseman Matthew Shawh.
The NJSIAA sent News 12 a statement explaining the situation. Westfield's athletic director could not be reached for comment.
Westfield went on to play but lost to Bayonne Tuesday evening.


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