Adults fight at girls' fastball championship

MIKE KOREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:09 AM ET

An ugly fight between parents and coaches disrupted a fantastic run by the upstart Napanee Express at the Canadian novice girls fastball championship (for players aged 13 and 14) on Sunday in Saint John, N.B.

A Windsor Wildcats assistant coach, a woman supporting Windsor and man supporting Napanee were kicked out of the park by tournament officials following a dispute in which punches were thrown, Softball New Brunswick president Bev Adams said.

Following the fight in the second inning, Windsor went on to beat Napanee 8-1 in the championship game.

The adults started behaving badly after a controversial play on the field in the second inning. According to Adams, Napanee head coach Craig Copeland and Windsor head coach Bill Bondy, a Windsor baserunner ran over Napanee third baseman Kaitlyn Manion, who was significantly smaller than the Windsor player.

Bondy, who was coaching third base at the time, said his player stumbled after advancing on a passed ball, resulting in the collision. Napanee parents clearly felt otherwise. On the play, both coaches agree, the Express had no chance to tag the runner out.

“Something did happen on the field, but that (should not) be a cause for (fighting between adults),” Adams said. “We had such a great tournament. Unfortunately when something like this happens, the kids are going to remember it.”

After the play on the field, parents started to yell with Napanee supporters believing the Windsor player knocked Manion over intentionally.

Things became more heated when a man with the Napanee contingent went over to the Windsor bench and exchanged words with the coaching staff.

Brown said a member of the host committee got between the two arguing adults to try to break up that dispute.

But in another spot off the field of play, Brown said, a Windsor female started to kick a Napanee male.

There is some confusion about what happened after that, but the physical fighting clearly escalated.

Copeland said the entire melee was “absolutely unfortunate.

“I don’t want what happened to take away from what the girls accomplished,” he said.

Brown said when order was restored — quickly, within a minute or two — members of the host committee talked with parents and the benches.

The message, in a nutshell, was the tournament was meant to showcase the young players, not the parents.

“The kids were upset,” said Adams, adding the three adults kicked out did not apologize to tournament staff in the aftermath. “Some of (the players) were crying and screaming.”

The teams finished the game without incident and players shook hands. Bondy added that the players joined together for a group photo.

“There was no reason for the whole thing,” Bondy said. “I understand why the Napanee (player) was upset. I spoke to the Napanee coach (afterward). No coach teaches a player to (intentionally run over another player).”

Police were on the scene for the game after a brawl took place at the same field during a Little League tournament earlier this month.

The Express, who qualified for Eastern Canadians in the fourth and final Ontario spot, won three consecutive playoff games to advance to the final this weekend after going 2-2 in pool play

But the improbable run came to an end against an undefeated Windsor squad that rested while Napanee reeled off three sudden-death wins in a row to keep its tournament alive.


Videos

Photos