Softball team organizes play to intentionally hit umpire in face with pitch (Video)
Apparently angry over calls not going their way, a fastpitch traveling softball team organized a play where the catcher would duck out of the way so that a pitcher’s pitch would intentionally hit the umpire in the face. The umpire realized the play was done intentionally and immediately ejected the coach, catcher and pitcher, and the game was called.
This took place at the Firecrackers and Triple Crown Sports presents: Showcase at Big League Dreams in West Covina, Calif. The showcase was a three-day event for traveling softball teams where college coaches came to scout. The game in question took place on a Saturday night at the Fenway Park replica field in West Covina. The entire event was played at a complex called “Big League Dreams,” which has several locations in California, Nevada, Texas and Arizona, all with replica fields of famous baseball stadiums. The teams involved were from the 18 Gold level (the highest level of travel ball play). This game featured Minors Gold and the California Cruisers Mel Sievers team, both of whom are from Southern California. The Cruisers are historically one of the better traveling programs in the country.
Minors Gold is in blue and has the bases loaded. Cruisers pitcher Hailey Hilburn (you can hear everyone yelling Hailey in the video), who is currently a high school junior at Canyon High School in Anaheim and verbally committed to Utah, throws a pitch down the middle but appears low that is called for ball four to walk in a run. One of the Cruisers coaches (people on message boards are saying it was Sievers) comes out to the circle for a visit with his infield. On the next pitch, the catcher jumps out of the way and Hilburn’s pitch hits the umpire squarely in the face.
The ump clearly realized what was going on and ejected the coach, pitcher and catcher and the game was called. This says Minors Gold won 7-2, though another boxscore says Minors Gold was winning 6-1 when the game was called in the third. It was a pretty dirty play, no doubt about it, and absolutely uncalled for. Regardless of how bad the umpiring is, you don’t retaliate in that manner.
This message board says Triple Crown Sports met with Sievers, the coach of the Cruisers, about the incident. This thread notes that the Cruisers did not participate in Triple Crown’s next event in So Cal.
The Cruisers went 1-4 in the showcase. They played two games the next day even after the incident on Saturday night.
If you’re curious to see more of what preceded the incident, a full video of the game is below. Around the 51:30 mark, the Cruisers switch pitchers after giving up a 2-run double with the bases loaded. Hilburn comes in and walks the next four batters. You can hear spectators complaining about the calls all along and sarcastically give a big cheer around the 1:01:30 mark when they finally get a strike call. The full game is below. The incident is at the very end of the video.