COVINGTON - Things turned nasty when members of a losing adult softball team turned on the umpire at a one-pitch fundraiser tournament Friday night at the Stone Road Softball Field, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
An NCSO incident report completed by Deputy T.D. Allen states the Sheriff's Office was summoned to the field around 11:30 p.m. in reference to an argument that erupted, apparently over the umpire calling the game early when the score was 9-4 in favor of Arc Enterprises softball team, which was playing the Cold Beer softball team.
The complainant was a member of the Cold Beer team, who said he had gotten into a verbal altercation with the umpire because he called the game early.
The complainant said he told the umpire he'd made a bad call and that he "wasn't worth a sh-- as an umpire," the report states. The man told the deputy the umpire then "got up into his face and pulled out a pocket knife in his right hand," and "an unknown person then pulled (the umpire's) right arm and hand which held the knife. .... (the complainant) advised he backed up towards the dugout and called 911."
When the deputy spoke with the umpire, he stated as he was exiting the field "he was called several abusive names by the Cold Beer team members. He was then surrounded by several players. He was then grabbed by someone, he does not know who it was. He then took out his pocket knife to defend himself and held it by his side while still closed. The people that surrounded him were intoxicated and also were carrying baseball bats."
Witnesses backed up the umpire's story, according to the report.
Newton County Recreation Department Assistant Director Anthony Avery said the umpire was within his rights to call the game.
"The umpire is in total control of that game," Avery said. "The umpire has the right to call the game if teams are not following through with what he's saying."
Avery said no charges were being pressed against anyone involved in the incident, but "it is our policy to eliminate all parties from play." He said the Cold Beer team would not be allowed to play on the field again, and he emphasized that the opposing team had no part in the altercation whatsoever.
"They (Arc Enterprises) were packing up to move to the other field as they should have and had nothing to do with the incident," he said.
Avery said the one-pitch tournament is a fund-raising initiative by the Recreation Department for the adult league. Arc Enterprises regularly plays in the adult league, but he said he believed the Cold Beer team was comprised of some guys who "just get together to make up a team."
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.