Boy’s Varsity Baseball Divided Off the Field but Stays Strong on the Field

Three weeks ago, junior Brandon Hall quit the varsity baseball team. Hall states that he did not quit because it was too much work. He did not quit because he didn’t get the playing time he thought he deserved. Hall quit after he claimed to have heard the Varsity Baseball Head Coach, Mr. Ron Ferguson, overrule his two assistant coaches on a questionable call.

In the specific instance when Hall quit, a Weedsport player was up to bat and a ball was hit in between the third baseman’s legs. The ball was marked as an error by Weedsport’s two assistant coaches. When an error occurs, a player’s average is affected negatively. When a base hit takes place, a player’s average benefits.  Hall states that he heard Coach Ferguson instruct his assistant coaches to switch the error to a base hit for the Weedsport player.

Editor’s Note: Coach Ferguson was contacted by the Johnny Green to discuss his perspective of the scoring decision and other matters, but was unable to reply due to this being a personnel matter.

In Hall’s perspective, the scoring change was a form of cheating. He handed the coach his uniform and walked off the field. This disagreement has sparked a series of turbulent events for the varsity baseball team. A call on an error and a hit is completely subjective to the coaching staff. The issue lies in whether or not Coach Ferguson should be able to overrule two assistant coaches, and whether or not his actions should be considered unfair.

Why is a book change a big deal? A large number of players on the team feel that it’s not, saying this is all being blown out of proportion. “It’s one play in a game that we won,” said varsity baseball player Andrew Rude. “One hit won’t affect his batting average that much.”

After a discussion with WHS Athletic Director, Mr. Carr, Coach Ferguson sat down with his team. Multiple players reported that Ferguson admitted to changing the scoring in favor of his team member. He said he’d do it for any one of his players. Many players believed the Administration thought this would settle the matter, however not all were not satisfied with this outcome.

Hall’s mother, Laura Hall, wrote a letter to Mr. Carr and the Weedsport School District (which she also gave to The Johnny Green), expressing her disappointment. Mrs. Hall wrote “I talked to Mr. Carr on Friday, 4-25-14, by phone and he agreed that this was not right and something needed to be done… But unfortunately, I received another phone call from Mr. Carr Monday night, 4-28-14, and it was decided that Mr. Ferguson could still change the books. But, he could not make a scene or do it in front of the kids. He could do it after the game.”

Upon finding out that Ferguson would still be allowed to change the books, the Hall family and several members of the baseball team attended the May 5th Board of Education meeting to address the issue. The meeting went into executive session to allow the Hall family, and senior varsity baseball player, Michael Gray to state their opinion.

Gray wanted to let the Board know that some of the team members felt let down. “[Ferguson] said in the beginning of the season that he would not change an error to a hit for anyone. He said that stats don’t matter,” Gray told the Johnny Green. The Board was unable to comment until further deliberation. The Hall family and the Gray family were contacted when a decision was reached.

The next evening, Laura Hall stated that she had received a phone call and letter from WCS Superintendent, Mr. Shaun O’Connor. In O’Connor’s letter to the Hall family, he states, “Following the continued review on the subject of Coach Ferguson’s role in the score keeping process, please know that from this point forward, he will have no role in input or maintaining statistics for the games.”

Although O’Connor’s decision addressed the initial incident, Mrs. Hall stated that she still has concerns and plans on following up at the next Board meeting on June 9th.

Through social media, Brandon Hall called for action. In his post he stated, “I know I’m not the only one who disagrees with what is happening and I would love others to step up… Please, everyone who disagrees with this, stand up and don’t let this be allowed in the Weedsport School District” While Hall is still looking for a change off the field, some players are ready to move on.

Junior Hunter Bowden says, “We need to focus on finishing the season strong and moving on to Sectionals.”

Senior captain, Alex Okal stated, “He shouldn’t be allowed to [change the books.] Once it’s already written and two coaches out of three agree on it, it should just stay… Changing the books for any reason isn’t right.”

Although the team is divided on the seriousness of this issue, they have not allowed this to affect their play. They’ve won the Cayuga County Tournament for the first time in five years and have now qualified for Sectionals for the first time since 2009.