Controversy and question arose during the USSSA Pride vs. Pennsylvania Rebellion game Saturday night, as the Pride's Sierra Romero's first career NPF home run was overshadowed by argument surrounding... her bat?
Indeed. Romero's home run was hit with a Worth-brand bat. Though a longtime sponsor of the National Pro Fastpitch league, the brand is no longer on the league's approved list after a company buyout and, as such, Worth-brand equipment is not allowed in league play.
Despite all of this, the home run was deemed legal and added to the Pride's eventual 5-0 shutout victory. I spoke to league commissioner Cheri Kempf for clarification on the issue; while not verbatim, here's what she told me:
The sole determination of an illegal bat is one that does not meet league-set specifications in length, weight, etc.
Romero's bat did meet the league's specified conditions, but happened to be of the Worth brand, and ergo, one that is not allowed in play. The purest interpretation is that, while the bat was not illegal, the brand of bat was simply not preferred - that distinction made the difference for the home run's allowance.
The bat was confiscated and sent to the league office and Romero and the Pride were warned to keep a more vigilant eye on such things. While fines are a possible punishment for such an infraction, Kempf said that such a penalty has never been issued and will not be in this case.