El Molino uses metal bats; Drake files protest

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
The first metal bat vs. wood bat North Coast Section baseball playoff game was played Tuesday when 13th-seeded El Molino lost, 4-3, at No. 4 Drake.
El Molino used metal bats. Drake, which plays in the Marin County Athletic League, used wood. MCAL teams have used wood bats for the past two months after a head injury suffered by Marin Catholic pitcher Gunnar Sandberg from a line drive off a metal bat on March 11.
El Molino was under no obligation to use wood bats — the NCS voted against the MCAL’s proposal to have all section teams use wood bats in the playoffs in April — but Drake coach Adam Farb filed a protest with the umpiring crew in the top of the first inning.
After the game, Farb sounded off on El Molino’s decision to use metal bats. Drake offered to provide the Lions with wood bats.
“I think the fact that this game was played under these circumstances is an embarrassment to the MCAL, for the NCS, for me, for (El Molino). It just shouldn’t have happened,” Farb said to the Marin Independent Journal. “To some extent, it’s a disgrace that it happened. The fact that we won doesn’t change that.
“I’m glad they weren’t rewarded for what they did. I just hope nobody uses this game as evidence that it doesn’t matter wood bat versus metal bat. They’re just not a very good team. We had a good pitcher on the hill, and he pretty much dominated. Two of their three runs are balls that are pretty much pop-outs with wood bats.”***
Lions coach Rick Tacla said Drake pitcher Pat Conroy followed El Molino’s Ricky Francheschi around the bases after Francheschi hit a second-inning homer. According to Tacla, Conroy was yelling to Francheschi that his hit wouldn’t have been a homer with a wood bat.
“He just kind of threw the bat out there and he hit it over, and it just barely got over,” Conroy said to the IJ. “With a wood bat … it’s just a popup to the shortstop or a middle of left field hit. It was a little frustrating, knowing that they had a little bit of an advantage.”
When I relayed Farb’s postgame comments to Tacla late Monday night, Tacla declined to respond. In April, Tacla was vocal in his support of making El Molino’s West County Tournament a wood-bat event because MCAL schools Novato and San Marin were participating.
On Tuesday, however, Tacla felt his team would been at a disadvantage if it had suddenly switched to wood bats against a team that had been swinging wood for two months.
“With the decision they made in Marin County, I agree with it,” Tacla said to the IJ. “But we’ve been playing with (metal) bats, and we’ve got to stay with what we’ve been using. I hope (Drake) makes it the whole way.”@#$
For the IJ story, click here.

*** Seriously? The rules state El Molino could use metal bats and the Lions did. I understand this is a sensitive issue, but Farb’s protest and postgame comments are hard to comprehend. He says, “I’m glad they weren’t rewarded for what they did.” Please. El Molino used metal bats, not AK-47s.
Perhaps most shocking is his statement “They’re just not a very good team.” Wow. Is he always this classy?

@#$ Further proof you can lose a game and walk away a winner.