By Anthony Bosco
A possibly explosive situation concerning the Christ the King baseball team became a moot point this past week when the Royals lost to the Holy Cross Knights Thursday on the last day of the regular season, missing the post-season.
Christ the King, coached by Walter Tuthill, may have had to forfeit a spot in the playoffs for playing more games than the 24 allotted by the Catholic High School Athletic Association, an accusation Tuthill denies.
According to Tuthill, the CHSAA called into question how many games the Royals played this season, citing the team’s play in two tournaments this year, the Westminster Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and the Monroe Tournament in the Bronx.
By season’s end, Christ the King had played the maximum 24 games allowed by rule and 13 additional scrimmages, including two at the Florida tournament, making a total of 37 contests. The state rules allow 24 games and 14 scrimmages for 38 total.
“As far as I’m concerned, we didn’t break any rules,” Tuthill said.
The initial questions regarding his team were made via an April telephone call to the office of CHSAA Baseball Chairman Wally Stampfel, who then called Christ the King, Tuthill said. The CHSAA asked Tuthill how many games his team had played in Florida after returning from the trip.
Tuthill said he furnished the league with a letter from the commissioner of the Westminster Classic and believed any possible conflict to be resolved.
But the matter was broached again at a league meeting this past week by a CHSAA official. Tuthill said he will be faxing the CHSAA with further information this week in hopes of squashing the matter completely.
“I don’t know, to tell you the truth,” Tuthill said. “We’re just going to fax them the information we need and take it from there.”
Christ the King played only two games in Florida, both losses, but then played two additional contests, which Tuthill said were scrimmages. If they are determined to have been actual games, CK could be found in violation.
“I kind of knew those two games would be scrimmages. I know it’s hard to win in Florida,” Tuthill said, adding that if his team would have won a game, Christ the King “wouldn’t have entered the Monroe Tournament.
“I think they didn’t understand,” Tuthill said. “I guess it’s a misunderstanding on someone’s part.”
Stampfel said the more recent questions regarding Christ the King’s number of games did not emanate from his office, but from the CHSAA itself, which oversees all the Catholic high schools in the state.
“I know that the league is still looking into it,” Stampfel said. “It actually becomes more of a CHSAA issue as opposed to a baseball issue. As far as I know, no formal protest has been lodged.”
Stampfel added that he was not sure what could possibly come of the alleged conflict at this point. Christ the King’s season is already over, a fact even more shocking to Tuthill than a possible scheduling mistake.
“I still can’t believe we did so poorly,” Tuthill said. “I expected to be there right at the end. It was a crazy season, I tell you. Everything fell apart. We started off great, then we just didn’t play well.”
Christ the King finished its league season with a 6-12 record, one game behind St. Edmund, which scored an upset over first-place Archbishop Molloy Thursday to finish 7-11.
The final standings had Molloy alone in first with a 15-3 record and St. Francis Prep in second at 12-6, which held a tie-breaker advantage over Xaverian, also 12-6. Monsignor McClancy finished fourth at 8-10, just ahead of St. Edmund. After CK, Holy Cross finished in last at 3-15.
The CHSAA playoffs were slated to begin Tuesday and are scheduled to run through June 5.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.