The Wyoming High School Activities Association took its first step toward sanctioning high school softball on Tuesday at its October Board of Directors meeting, unanimously passing a motion to add fast-pitch softball to Wyoming’s slate of offered high school sports in Spring 2021. It requires passing a second reading (which will likely come at the board’s November meeting) before becoming official.
Christina Mills, a first-term representative from Shoshoni and the only female on the 19-person board, introduced the anticipated motion and Wright representative Larry Yeradi seconded its introduction to begin formal discussions.
That motion stated the softball season would start on the same week as soccer and track and field. The board mentioned extending the season into June, mostly due to Wyoming’s weather during the spring months, but refused to move forward with that idea. Track season, at one point, extended further into the summer, which caused scheduling headaches with graduations.
As it stands now the 11 schools who voted to adopt high school softball — Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Cody, Gillette, Green River, Kelly Walsh, Laramie, Natrona County, Rock Springs and Thunder Basin — would be limited to 22 games in a season. There’s also a limit on an athlete playing in only three games per day, sub-varsity games included.
Games would consist of seven innings with a 10-run mercy rule after five innings. There was discussion for adding a mercy rule after three innings. Only through that mercy rule would a game under five innings be considered completed. Games are also capped at an hour-and-a-half.
The introduction of the Wyoming State High School Softball Championship Tournament also unanimously passed a first reading. The only location to bid on the inaugural tournament was the Energy Capital Sports Complex in Gillette, which would host two games at a time in a three-day double-elimination tournament. That bid lasts for the first two years at the all-turf fields with bullpens and batting cages at each of the complex’s four available fields. The board mentioned how sliding on the current infield could scrape jerseys and skin, and it was reiterated that the complex’s directors are hosting members of the Colorado Rockies grounds crew for advice on making the infield dirt safer for sliding.
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There were a few other notable moments from Tuesday’s meeting.
FOOTBALL: Pine Bluffs has withdrawn its request to play Class 2A instead of Class 1A/9-man next season when the classification begins competition. Southeast has also opted to play in Class 1A/9-man instead of 6-man like originally scheduled. ... Riverside once again appealed to become playoff eligible this season. The Rebels voluntarily opted to play in Class 1A/6-man starting in 2016 due to low numbers. That appeal was once again denied. ... Moorcroft appealed to be postseason eligible when it opts down to play Class 1A/9-man next season. Activities Director Dusty Petz and football coach Travis Santistevan brought the appeal forward because of the school’s populace in members of the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church. Those students cannot participate in extra-curricular activities based on religious beliefs and, by Petz and Santisevan’s plea, should not count toward the school’s Average Daily Enrollment. That appeal was denied after a brief discussion among the board.
GOLF: A proposal went forward to re-word language in the Class 4A state golf meet rules. That would mean only the top four teams and the remaining top 20 individuals from a qualifying tournament would qualify for the state meet. That passed on its second reading and goes into implementation in the Fall 2020 season.
INDOOR TRACK: Rawlins’ bid to start an indoor track team was adopted. Because it’s an individual sport, the Outlaws can begin indoor competition starting with the upcoming season. Rawlins had been co-opting with Laramie for the indoor season.
DANCE: A motion to replace jazz with POM dance failed unanimously because the board didn’t know the rationale behind it, beyond that POM dance is more accessible and taught more frequently by studios.
SWIMMING & DIVING: The board introduced a motion that would stop scoring and placing if four of the scoring individuals came from the same school. So if four of the top eight placing swimmers came from the same school, the ninth-placed swimmer would not earn team points or be awarded eighth.