September 2010

Six players suspended one game following brawl

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The benches clear in a brawl after a close play at the plate at the end of the fifth inning in Game 2 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series between the Greenville Drive and Lakewood BlueClaws on Sept. 14, 2010, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Leandro Castro and Julio Rodriguez of Lakewood and Michael Almanzar and Derrik Gibson were ejected by HP umpire Derek Mollica. Photo by Tom Priddy.
Six players involved in Tuesday night’s brawl at the South Atlantic League Championship Series game in Greenville have been suspended for one game. Most are expected to sit out Game 3 in Lakewood, N.J.
Eric Jarinko, Senior Director, Marketing & Media Services for the Greenville Drive, confirmed the suspensions in an e-mail a few minutes ago. 
Although the suspensions were handed down by South Atlantic League President Eric Krupa, there has been no official press release. Jarinko said players have been fined in addition to the suspensions, but he said no details could be revealed.
Jarinko confirmed the following suspensions: For the Drive, Michael Almanzar, Vladimir Frias and Jeremy Hazelbaker. For Lakewood, Julio Rodriguez, Leandro Castro and Korby Mintken.
All will take Game 3 as their suspended day, with the exception of Rodriguez and Frias, who will sit out Game 4. The best-of-five series is tied 1-1. The remaining games are scheduled for Lakewood.
Game 3 was scheduled for Thursday night, but it has been postponed due to rain.
The benches-clearing brawl broke out after the final out in the fifth inning, when Derrik Gibson of the Drive collided with Lakewood’s catcher, who held on to the ball for the out.

Benches-clearing brawl at Sally League playoff

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The benches clear in a brawl after a close play at the plate at the end of the fifth inning in Game 2 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series between the Greenville Drive and Lakewood BlueClaws on Sept. 14, 2010, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Leandro Castro and Julio Rodriguez of Lakewood and Michael Almanzar and Derrik Gibson were ejected by HP umpire Derek Mollica. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
And to think, I almost left after the fourth inning . . . I had already gotten the action I needed.
But  . . . it was the last baseball game I’d be able to shoot this year, and I had trouble leaving, so I stayed just a little longer . . . and look what I got.
I’m scanning my memory and I don’t believe I have ever shot a benches-clearing brawl before. I was preparing for Derrik Gibson of the Greenville Drive to score on this play at the end of the fifth inning, but he smashed into Lakewood BlueClaws catcher Sebastian Valle, who hung onto the ball for the inning’s final out.
And then the unplanned fireworks began. Instead of a high-five session in the dugout, I got a benches-clearing brawl than went on and on . . .