Bad blood mars softball game


When there’s tension and misinterpretations there’s often an abandonment of play.

That’s what happened during the Hawke’s Bay premier men’s softball clash between Fast Pitch and Dodgers at Akina Park, Hastings on Saturday. Plate umpire Darrel Paul called the game off in the bottom of the first inning after Dodgers second baseman Joe O’Leary refused to leave the park after he was ejected for back chat.

O’Leary explained after the match there had been tension between the two sides when they met a fortnight ago.

“I didn’t want a repeat of that so early in the match I decided to tell the Fast Pitch players not to talk s***. Even if they are 15 runs better than us they should still respect us.

“As I walked away I heard one of their players say smash the ball at the infielder which was obviously me so I went back to remind them they won’t get away with those sort of comments at the National Fast Pitch Championship when Hawke’s Bay will be up against big guns like Hutt Valley and Auckland.

Fast Pitch captain Mario Herbert agreed there had been previous tension between the two teams and said he asked his players to avoid negative comments.

“Joe heard something which flared him and our player concerned told us he was sorry afterwards

At the same time Joe misinterpreted it … our player wasn’t singling Joe out but rather indicating it would be to our advantage if we drove the ball into the infield rather than put it in the air,” said Herbert.

Former Junior Black Sox utility Herbert and O’Leary agreed such tension was the last thing the Bay needed in the buildup to the naming of the Hawke’s Bay NFC team.

“I’m not happy about missing out on a game. You train all week so you can play,” added Herbert before joining players from both teams for some training drills.

Fast Pitch were awarded default points after the game was called off.

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