CARMICHAEL, CA - In the wake of this week's junior varsity tournament baseball game that ended in a brawl, parents said eight JV players have been suspended and kicked off the Yuba City High School team.
Officials at Yuba City Unified School District would not confirm the punishment meted out so far, but parents said they've spoken among themselves and many think the punishment was too extreme.
"Was our pitcher wrong? Absolutely. Nobody is denying that. However, are our boys supposed to sit back while their whole dugout comes and tackles our pitcher?," asked parent Stacy Todd, referring to the moment in the game when the pitcher for the Yuba City team threw a baseball at the first base coach after he'd allegedly called the pitcher's mother an insulting name.
Todd's son Camryn was suspended for five days for admitting he'd thrown a punch during the fracas.
She said her son did not expect to be banned from baseball for the season. "He's devastated. He had no idea he would be kicked off the team," Todd said.
Several students at Yuba City High School said they had mixed feelings about the punishment.
"I think he was just defending his mom, but I don't think he needed to go that far as to throw the ball and rush on the coach," Yuba City High freshman Lissette Luney said.
Meanwhile, veteran umpire Sarjeet Singh said officials have to keep control of a game.
"Basically, you have to see those things coming," Singh said. "Sometimes you don't, you don't. But, I feel at the high school level you can see it coming."
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Monday's game at Granite Bay between Del Campo and Yuba City ended in a fight, which for a time was posted on YouTube. In the video, it appears that members of the Yuba City team charge onto the field and fighting erupts.
"The administration and adults are ultimately responsible for what occurred on the baseball field," Singh said. "They have to assume responsibility for the situation and dish out punishment as needed."
Some parents said they believe part of the blame lies on the officiating. There was only one umpire working the game, the normal number for JV baseball.
"Certainly, the more adults the better," San Juan Unified School District spokesperson Trent Allen said. "But, you do have multiple coaches, you have the ump and you hopefully have caring parents, hopefully setting a good example for students."
Although, in the video, a person who appears to be a parent is clearly seen running onto the field.
"They're trying to help," Singh said. "But, really they're just fueling the fire... Between the lines, no parent belongs on a baseball diamond!"
Investigations by both the Yuba City Unified School District and San Juan Unified School District are underway. If warranted, punishment could range from a single game suspension to expulsion from school.
"The consequences that are at hand for this kind of thing would be suspension from school, suspension from the team, being removed from the team, being placed up for expulsion," Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent Nancy Aaberg said.
"Any of our players who came out of the dugout and threw punches would certainly face disciplinary action," Allen said. "And then, of course, we'll look at how our adults behaved as well."