OCAA officiating controversy threatens record

Oct 15, 2012 | Sports

Jessica O'Quinn

Humber’s Jessica O’Quinn may see her all-time record for RBIs reversed due to an OCAA technicality known as the mercy rule. COURTESY HUMBER ATHLETIC.

On Saturday, two of Humber’s women’s fastball players claimed individual OCAA records. That they happened to be twin sisters is even more remarkable. Yet a controversy surrounding the interpretation of OCAA regulations threatens to erase one of them from the history books.

By Elton Hobson

It was a stellar day for the Humber Hawks women’s fastball team.

In a double-header versus Conestoga College on Saturday, sophomore Jacqueline O’Quinn notched four runs on the day, claiming the all-time OCAA record for runs in a single season, at 23.

Her twin sister Jessica claimed the OCAA record for runs batted in (RBIs) in a single season with 29, hitting a Grand Slam home run in the ninth that gave her the record. At least, that was the story Saturday night.

Come Monday morning however, it was a whole new ball game.

“Jacquline’s [record] is for sure, but Jessica’s isn’t because they may reverse the call based on the mercy rule,” director of Humber’s sports information Jim Bialek told Humber News. “It all comes down to if they mark the score 13 nothing, or 10 nothing, where the mercy takes effect.”

The source of the controversy is the OCAA’s “mercy” rule, where a game is called if the point differential between the two teams hits 10 points.

In Jessica O’Quinn’s case, this presents a unique problem. As she stepped up to the plate in the ninth, the score was 9-0 in Humber’s favor with the bases loaded. Her home run sent her and the three base runners home for a final score of 13-0, and 4 RBI’s for Jessica.

However, the “mercy” rule ends a game automatically when the score differential reaches 10, meaning O’Quinn’s last 3 RBI’s and her own home run could be disallowed.

“The question is whether or not her last at bat was a nine-nothing grand slam, or a ten-nothing homer and should have been stopped,” Bialek said.

The OCAA is investigating the hit alongside Humber, and the call could hinge on where Ms. O’Quinn’s home run landed.

“Just as in [major league] baseball, if the hit goes out of the park it counts as a grand slam,” says Joshua Bell-Webster, marketing and communications director for the OCAA. “If it landed inside the park, then the ball would still be live and the game would stop once the 10th runner crossed the plate.”

Adding to the controversy is a question about how many runners were actually on base when O’Quinn hit her homer.

“We’re looking into whether the bases were loaded when the home run was hit,” said Marlene Ford, athletic co-ordinator at Conestoga College. “I’ve spoken with all the coaches involved, and it was a pretty crazy inning. We’ve got some work to do figuring out what exactly happened.”

“We don’t have the benefit of video replay to rely on,” Bell-Webster said. “Luckily, all parties involved are interested in getting to the bottom of this and working together in a friendly and helpful manner. I’ve got no doubt we’ll find out what happened and the record will stand as it should.”