After listening to the recommendations from the state board, the Crow River Valley League decided to count six Waconia Lakers games as forfeits and deem them ineligible for the 2019 postseason. The decision comes after a Waconia player’s address was found to be ineligible, in a dispute that has been called unfortunate for all those involved.
“The whole situation is not good for either team or the league,” CRVL secretary Jason Kuerschner said. “There are going to be unintended circumstances that come from this that are going to hurt everyone in the league, maybe not now, but in the future.”
The dispute that was finally settled after several meetings and long hours was based on whether a player’s address was correct. The player signed with Waconia, but his address was “unverifiable” as it was in flux. Had the issue been brought up earlier in the season, a disagreement like this may have been avoided.
“Now 24 other guys have to forfeit because of that, it could have been headed off at the pass - had people in the know from both teams talked to me or a state board member or someone else,” Kuerschner said.
The rule at issue was that players have to establish residency before March 15 and prove that they live at that residence for their first four games on a new team. As a college kid with an unverifiable Waconia address, the player was deemed ineligible, as was the Waconia team.
At the July 1 CRVL meeting, the teams in the league decided to accept the recommendations from the state board and add no more punitive measures, while also allowing the Lakers to continue the rest of their regular season games.
Most of the July 1 discussion was centered around how to make the rest of the season fair for the rest of the league as the teams fight for playoff spots. Throwing a curveball into the mix is the fact that Waconia had the best record in the league, and some said it would be unfair to say that this one player would have changed the results. The Lakers were 5-1 in games with the ineligible player (9-2 overall), winning 4-0 over Brownton, 11-1 over New Germany, 11-1 over Glencoe, 13-4 over St. Boni, 15-0 over Carver and losing 2-1 to Plato. All six games now are recorded as 9-0 losses for Waconia for tiebreaker purposes for the remaining teams (one run is recorded for each inning in a forfeit).
Lakers games will continue for the remainder of the regular season, but Waconia loses their shot at the postseason and a college kid loses a season playing summer baseball. And Kuerschner said no matter who you side with, the situation is an unfortunate one that sees no one as a winner.
“He’s a Waconia kid - he should be playing in the league whether its for St. Boni, Waconia or anybody else,” he said. “He’s not some ringer that was a Big 10 batting champion or a major league ball player coming back that didn’t have his address set. This kid is a Waconia kid, he graduated from Waconia High School.”