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Mike Carp delivers one of the most bizarre high school baseball tournament stories, ever

05.25.13 at 3:39 pm ET

With the state high school playoffs upon us, and Mike Carp serving as one of the Red Sox’ heroes Friday night, it’s a good time to surface one of the most bizarre state tournament stories you’ll come across …

The year was 2003 and Carp’s Lakewood (CA) High baseball team had rebounded from a 2-3 start to win 23 of its next 25 to claim a No. 1 seed into the postseason. The year before, the Lancers had reached the California state finals at Angels Stadium, only to lose to Delmon Young’s Rio Mesa High club.

Lakewood was slated to take on Valley View High, which boasted a pitcher/shortstop by the name of Steven Wright (who now pitches for Triple-A Pawtucket).

Before the quarterfinal tilt, Carp and his teammates were playing Pepper (one batter hits with a fungo about with soft tosses coming from teammates 10-15 feet away). A few hours later, Lakewood had claimed a 4-2 win and was already thinking about their semifinal game.

Then, upon arriving at school the next day, Carp and the rest of the Lancers discovered their season was over … because of that game of Pepper.

“Before the game we’re playing Pepper like any other game I had in high school,” the Red Sox outfielder/first baseman said. “I guess their coach wasn’t happy about it, came up to our coach and said we weren’t allowed to do that. Our coach told him we had done it forever and we were going to keep doing it.

“We didn’t know, but they played the game under protest. We beat them fair and square, 4-2. We show up to school the next day to find out they disqualified us. We thought they were going to the semifinals. It was a debacle for four days. We were trying to halt the game trying to get back in there, but they wouldn’t overturn it. Season over for us. We were the No. 1 seed and we thought we had a legitimate chance at winning.”

The reason for the disqualification? Evidently, overhand Pepper is not allowed in California high school baseball.

“Because it was overhand,” said Carp when asked for the reasoning behind the elimination. “We were literally standing 10 or 15 away from one another. I guess what they said they had on video guys were throwing normal BP, which I don’t know how you get that from a game of Pepper.”

So, what did Wright say when the two were reunited?

“He said that rules were rules,” Carp lamented.

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