Keep calm, even during times of high stress – especially in baseball. That’s the lesson learned after OSAA suspended Jesuit and Central Catholic baseball players after the athletes cleared the bench during the Holy War game April 10.
Jesuit’s entire roster, except for catcher Tucker Hamilton, and eight Central players were suspended from their games on Monday.
“The bottom line is teenagers make mistakes and it’s our job as educators to help them grow,” said Mike Hughes, Jesuit’s athletic director.
The incident happened at the top of the fifth inning, after a Central base runner collided with Jesuit’s catcher, Hamilton. While Hamilton was face down on the ground, a second collision occurred between another Central base runner and a Jesuit third baseman.
One player yelled and another shoved an athlete from the opposing team, Hughes said.
Players from both dugouts rushed the field, and other players left their positions on the field, both offenses that will get players ejected from a game according to the National Federation of State High School Association Baseball Rules Book.
After the incident, Jesuit’s athletic department leadership met with the young athletes to discuss good sportsmanship, character and poise.
Standard procedure according to OSAA rules is that any player ejected from a game must sit out during the next game, as well.
Jesuit used junior varsity players to avoid forfeit Monday during a game against Sunset High School. Jesuit lost, 1-2. Central Catholic played short Monday against Centennial, and lost 9-11.
“We didn’t lose because we were missing the players physically,” said Dan Floyd, Central’s head baseball coach. “We lost because we missed the leadership from the group of players that were not there. We needed those leaders to show our younger guys how to prepare physically and mentally for practices, games and, at times, life in general.”
Players’ parents and fans were civil and polite when the umpires called the game, Hughes said.
“It was a very sportsmanlike and mature reaction from the crowds of both teams,” he said.