Moorpark files appeal of championship loss to Hart 

Hart baseball coaches celebrate after winning the Division 2 CIF SS Championship on Friday at Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium. Photo courtesy of Cole Franquiz Photography.


The Moorpark Unified School District confirmed Thursday it was challenging the result of the Moorpark High baseball team’s loss to Hart High School in the CIF-Southern Section Division II championship game Friday. 

“We filed an appeal on Monday,” said Dan Wolowicz, public information officer for Moorpark Unified, adding a statement was issued Tuesday that explained why: 

“First, an appeal provides an opportunity to more fully review other key moments in the game that may have impacted the final outcome. And second, we hope our appeal may lead to a broader conversation within CIF Southern Section to consider changes to its procedures that may help avoid similar circumstances in the future,” the statement read. 

During the seventh inning of the game, Moorpark shortstop Taylor Busch hit the ball to deep left field, and it was briefly ruled a home run.  

The dinger would have been a game-ending, championship-delivering hit for the Musketeers, who began a joyous celebration that was quickly quashed when the umpires began to confer about the call, which they ultimately reversed, and ruled the play a ground rule double 

The Indians responded by retiring the next three batters to win the title.  

Hart High Principal Jason D’Autremont said he had nothing to say with respect to Moorpark’s appeal, but he was upset by how the internet response to Hart’s championship has attacked players and coaches who rightfully earned a championship.  

He said he’s heard many internet pundits and their questioning of the play and subsequent footage online.  

At the end of the day, shots from the team’s photographer, which were shared to the high school’s X account — 28 photos that capture the ball going out of play in succession — leave him confident the umpire crew, which ultimately called it a ground-rule double, got it right. 

Officials for the California Interscholastic Federation, the statewide governing body for high school sports, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday on the appeal. 

However, a post on X of a quote attributed to Thom Simmons, spokesman for the CIF’s Southern Section, indicated that instant replay is not allowed by rule in high school baseball, which makes the call final.   

In their statement Tuesday, Moorpark officials said their “ultimate goal” was to make sure the trophy holder “will be able to look at it with pride,” and “not with the lingering question of whether it was fairly won.” 

D’Autremont called the circumstances unfortunate, but they don’t change the outcome. 

“I feel terrible because they were given an incorrect call, celebrated because they thought that they had won, then had to go back out on the field, continue playing and lose,” D’Autremont said. “And I credit our team in gathering their composure, in coming back and getting three outs in a row — I think they’re worthy of their championship.” 

He also said the unfair comments disparaging the program and its players are particularly upsetting. 

“I am upset with folks in the online community who are disparaging our players, our coaches, our fans, who claim that we are lying and cheating,” he said. 

He added that he could see how some people couldn’t clearly see it as well based on the initial footage online, adding the lighting in that corner of the field was very poor. 

“I am 100% confident that the ball bounced in the field of play and out of the field of play,” he said in a phone interview Thursday, “and I am 100% confident that Hart High School is the rightful champion.” 

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