The Northern 4A baseball playoff race was thrown for a loop on Tuesday without a single pitch being thrown.
Galena High School was forced to forfeit 11 games, and perhaps nobody benefited more in its playoff standing than Douglas High.
The Grizzlies forfeited the games after the NIAA determined Galena had used an ineligible player from March 13 to April 8. According to the NIAA, another member school asked for an investigation into the player's eligibility, an inquiry Galena cooperated with in full.
Galena itself was cleared of any wrongdoing, according to NIAA executive director Jerry Hughes.
"This is a very unfortunate situation, but one that requires action based on the rules and regulations of the NIAA," Hughes said in a written statement. "The grades of a student who was enrolled in a curricular class outside of the school were not monitored properly. Although it was inadvertent on the part of Galena High School, the fact remains that an ineligible player participated and had a potential effect on the outcome of every contest."
The NIAA had no other comment on the situation, noting that Galena is seeking administrative appeal, and that there is a possibility of legal action with the zone tourney only a week away.
According to NIAA Sports Information Director Donnie Nelson, the appeal will brought before a "neutral panel," but he could not comment on the composition of that body.
Galena High coach David Callaway could not be reached for comment. His team was playing at the Modesto Easter Tournament on Tuesday.
Predictably, the Northern 4A Region baseball tournament bracket underwent serious changes. Galena had finished the season 19-5 in league play, good for the second seed in the playoffs, which are set to begin May 3 at Carson High.
Douglas, which picked up two more victories because of the forfeits, jumped two spots in the aftermath, grabbing the fourth seed. The Tigers were set to face third-seeded Carson, which now faces Wooster in the first round as a result of the new brackets. Douglas gets No. 5 Fallon, the only team that didn't change positions.
McQueen jumped from No. 4 to No. 2 and faces Sparks in the first round.
Reed benefited in a much different way, going from elimination to the eighth seed after winning a tiebreaker with Lowry. The Raiders will face top-seeded Reno in the first round.
Only three schools didn't see their records change due to the forfeits: Reno, Fallon and Elko. Neither Fallon nor Carson moved in their position.
Breakout: Old, new playoff seedings
Below is a look at the Northern 4A playoff seedings. The left column is the revised standings, while the right is a look at the way things were before Galena was forced to forfeit 11 games.
New Seedings Old Seedings
1. Reno (21-3) 1. Reno (21-3)
2. McQueen (17-7) 2. Galena (19-5)
3. Carson (17-7) 3. Carson (16-8)
4. Douglas (15-9) 4. McQueen (16-8)
5. Fallon (14-10) 5. Fallon (14-10)
6. Wooster (13-11) 6. Douglas (13-11)
7. Sparks (11-13) 7. Wooster (12-12)
8. Reed (11-13) 8. Sparks (10-14)