Orlando Edgewater High on Monday refuted Springstead’s allegations of poor sportsmanship in the teams’ region baseball final.
In a conference call with the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday, Springstead officials accused Edgewater of making no attempt to protect the field during a brief rainstorm in their Class 6A region final May 10 and lying about not having equipment to preserve the field. The call came a day after the Florida High School Athletic Association declined to hear an appeal to resume the region final, which was called after five innings due to poor field conditions and darkness, giving Edgewater a 6-5 win.
Edgewater athletic director Valerie Miyares, who said the FHSAA encouraged her to call the Times, said the allegations are false and “there was no issue with unsportsmanlike conduct.”
The specific allegations Miyares denies:
• Springstead coach Jim Diven said Edgewater players started to run out to the team’s equipment shed for tarps to cover the field during the rain delay, but coaches called them back saying everything was under control. Miyares said the players never left the dugout and “sending kids out to get the tarps wasn’t feasible” due to the short duration and heaviness of the storm.
• On not using the tarps that Springstead coaches said they saw by the dugout: Miyares said the tarps are only for the mound and home plate, and even if they had been used the field would have been unplayable. She said there was flooding in the infield, from shortstop to second base, and the standing water would not have evaporated in time to resume the game. (Edgewater’s field has no lights.) She said the umpires’ reports also said the field would not have been ready in time to resume play that day.
• In Springstead’s report to the FHSAA, assistant baseball coach John Walls said Edgewater coach Keith Walsh had told him the team had no equipment, such as rakes and Quick Dry. “We opened up our equipment shed to (Springstead’s coaches),” Miyares said. She added that two Springstead coaches grabbed rakes and brooms and attempted to work on the mound and infield before stopping on their own.
Miyares did acknowledge that the team had used up its stock of Quick Dry in earlier playoff games. Inclement weather throughout regionals had shaken up the schedule, and after playing multiple games in a short span of time, she said the team had not had time to restock.
When asked if Edgewater had ever considered playing the region final at a different field, with lights, since it had taken on so much rain in recent days, Miyares said no. She said the field was in fine condition the day of the game, and that there had been no rain in the forecast.
Edgewater plays Archbishop McCarthy in the state semifinals Wednesday morning at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. Springstead finished its season at 19-9.