WALKOFF WALK tosses along this intriguing story about an umpire who took a pitch to the grill during a high school baseball game.
What’s unusual is that the ump may have been plunked on purpose.
(Video of the high school hit after the jump.)
The ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION reports that during the Georgia Class AAA baseball championship on Saturday, Stephens County catcher Matt Hill ducked from a pitch thrown by Cody Martin. As a result, the ball squarely hit umpire Jeff Scott right in the middle of his mask:
Stephens County coach Mark Gosnell says the errant throw was just a little miscommunication between pitcher & catcher:
“Matt said he had a curveball, and Cody said it was a fastball,” Gosnell said. “[Hill and Martin] have been as honest as anyone since I’ve known them.”
However, Scott Singer, who was videotaping the game for the opposing Cartersville team, believes that the toss & duck was intentional:
“Those two, the pitcher and his brother, the entire game had been riding the umpire about balls and strikes, and [Ethan Martin] got rung up in the top of the fourth, so that was payback in the bottom of the fourth,” Singer said. “I don’t know what was going through their heads, but when you see a catcher go to his right, it’s like ‘Good God!’”
Purposeful or not, Stephens County principal David Friend has apologized for the incident, while trying to explain it away as just another goofy gaffe in sports:
“[The tape] looks bad, and most people who look at it come away with that conclusion,” Friend said. “But there have been whacky things that have happened in baseball and high schools, and all I’m going to conclude is that it does need to be investigated. If we’re found to be at fault, we’ll effectively deal with the situation.”
As for the game, Cartersville effectively dealt with Stephens County, claiming the state championship in a 13-1 rout. The game was actually stopped after the top of the fifth inning, as the 10-run mercy rule was put into effect.
It could also been an act of mercy on behalf of the ump. Two more innings and he might have been killed.