No playoffs for West Knights
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
April 16, 2002
West Lauderdale won't be defending its Class 3A state championship when the 2002 baseball playoffs open Thursday.
In a hearing by telephone with the Mississippi High School Activities Association Monday morning, the Knights had to forfeit six Division 5-3A wins for using an ineligible player. West opted not to appeal the ruling.
Jamie Fontan, a junior pitcher who transferred to West from Lamar School, was declared ineligible since his residence was determined to be in the Southeast Lauderdale district by MHSAA officials.
The six forfeits drop the Knights to 6-6 in 5-3A, leaving them behind Philadelphia, Carthage, and Southeast Lauderdale and in a fourth-place tie with Newton County.
In league play, the Knights forfeited two wins over Choctaw Central (11-1 and 21-2 victories) and one each over Philadelphia, Heidelberg, Newton County (a 5-3 win), and Carthage (a 10-3 win).
Boatner said Proctor told him that if the veteran coach was told Fontan lived at the address in the West Lauderdale district, then he had been deceived. "He never did live there (in a trailer park in the West Lauderdale district)," Proctor told Boatner.
The sanctions end West Lauderdale's string of 19-consecutive district/division championships. The Knights have won a Mississippi-best 10 state championships and have reached the state championship 13 of the previous 27 years.
Boatner said Carthage actually reported the violation after being tipped off by another district school.
Philadelphia was in the playoffs regardless of the forfeits, but the Tornadoes moved into first place and will be the 2002 5-3A champion. Philadelphia will take on Forest in a first round Class 3A series.
Carthage would not have made the playoffs without the forfeits.