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Old 11-30-2019, 10:03 PM   #306
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April 1897 Recap

Ephraim knew the rule well, as did everyone else. Four years of eligibility for all players, whether they played one game or sixty in a season. But this time, the University of California was asking for an exception to the eligibility rule for their injured first baseman, Kelly Slifka. Calling it a "hardship waiver", university President Darren Moore believed Slifka should be allowed to play another season with the team, as he sustained a season-ending injury in the first game of the year. At a hearing at his office in New York, Ephraim heard arguments both for and against the waiver. Some in the CBA office believed it to be unfair to other players in the past who had lost eligibility. Others felt this was a unique circumstance in which an injury and not a decision by a coach, kept the player off the field. The decision was made even more difficult, as Slifka had become a popular player nationally and the media was covering the request thoroughly. After consulting with the Board of Presidents, the decision was made to grant a hardship waiver to Slifka. However, it was announced as well that any future hardship waivers had to be approved by the CBA Board of Presidents and the Commissioner of the CBA.

Unfortunately, Ephraim had more work to do regarding disciplining players. On April 21st, in a game between Wofford and Mississippi State, Bulldogs pitcher Cameron "Zombie" Brown had just given up a three-run homer in the 4th inning of the game to lose his shutout. Nevertheless, Mississippi State still led the game 10-3. But his second pitch to Wofford second baseman Rich Rucker hit the sophomore. Rucker charged the mound and the benches cleared! Given the facts presented to him, Ephraim suspended Rucker for four games, while Brown was suspended for nine.

Pitching continued to dominate the headlines in April, with 57 shutouts tossed versus only 14 notable hitting performances. As an example of the dominance of pitching in the CBA, three pitchers won their 50th career game this month. The first was on April 16th by Lehigh senior Kevin DeVries in a 9-5 win at Mountaineers Ballpark against West Virginia. The win improved DeVries' career record to 50-19 and a 2.83 career ERA. Nine days later, and after DeVries had pushed his career wins to 52, two other CBA pitchers reached the milestone. Northwestern senior Joe Tucker achieved the mark by pitching a 4-0 shutout at home against Notre Dame. Tucker's career numbers on that day improved to 50-22 and a 2.72 ERA. Washington State senior Brad Hutchison gained his milestone win in a 12-6 victory at USC, where the Cougars broke a tie by scoring six runs over the final two innings of the game. Hutchison's career mark also sat at 50-22 and a 3.38 ERA.

Northwestern's incredible winning streak to start the season ended after a 25-0 start, as they lost to Lehigh 4-1 on April 6th. The Wildcats started another streak, however, and continued to play well, going 16-5 for the month and ending the month with a record of 38-5. Other teams weren't faring so well this month. Georgetown finished the month with a mirrored season record of 5-38. Tempers in Mount Pleasant, Michigan were running high halfway through the month, as the Central Michigan Chippewas recorded their 20th straight loss. The local college paper reported Central Michigan Chippewas' fans were "visibly shocked" by their team's inability to win. "This is an outrage", said Bob Johnson, a longtime Central Michigan Chippewas season ticket holder. "These guys are a disgrace. It is beyond obvious that they don't even care about the fans at this point. I guess they are just showing up to not go to classes or not study. Hopefully, they study their classwork better than they play baseball." Central Michigan Chippewas Manager, Nate Bauer, appeared to be at his breaking point during the post-game press conference. "I'm sick and tired of dumb questions! Embarrassed? Of course, I'm embarrassed. These guys call themselves collegiate athletes but they play like little leaguers." Ephraim just chuckled at the comments and figured that it was just a matter of time before Bauer lost his job. How do you expect your players to play for you when you call them out in the press?

Stanford freshman pitcher Matt Stephens won Rookie of the Month with a 7-0 mark in April. For the season, Stephens is 10-4 with a 4.23 ERA. Michigan senior John Roter was the CBA's Pitcher of the Month after going 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA. On the year, Roter is 9-5 with an ERA of 2.05. Batter of the Month honors went to Dartmouth senior John Anderson. For the month, Anderson hit .379, with two home runs, 29 RBI, and 28 runs scored. Anderson is hitting .391 for the season, with five homers, 48 RBI, and 49 runs scored in 43 games.

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