Softball coaching staff quits after allegation involving pitching machine

Softball coaching staff quits after allegation involving pitching machine

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Softball coaching staff quits after allegation involving pitching machine

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Conner coach Kristin Koors has guided the Cougars softball team for several years, including a 33rd District championship in 2011. (Photo: file photo)

Conner coach Kristin Koors has guided the Cougars softball team for several years, including a 33rd District championship in 2011. (Photo: file photo)

An entire coaching staff from Conner High School’s softball team in Hebron, Ky., has quit after a ballplayer accused the head coach of directing a softball from a pitching machine at her.

The incident led to an investigation of the coach for misdemeanor assault, but no one has been charged yet.

Kristin Koors, Conner’s head coach since 2007, resigned abruptly earlier this week, along with the rest of her staff. A ballplayer has accused her of directing a softball from a pitching machine at her.

The team was 2-0 in the early season. A game at Fairfield on Monday and an upcoming home game against McAuley Friday were both canceled.

Eric McArtor, an assistant superintendent for the Boone County school district, said that Conner principal Tim Hitzfield is planning to meet with parents and players and is working to have an interim coach in place by next week so the team can resume its season. Under regulations from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the program cannot have organized practices or competition without supervision from certified coaches.

“He’s worried about the kids and what‘s going to happen,” McArtor said. “He wants them to continue their season.”

The auspicious 2-0 start to the season came to a halt on March 23 during an intrasquad scrimmage at Conner’s softball field. What happened next varied in the accounts given to police.

During the practice at Conner’s softball field, Koors operated a pitching machine in the pitching circle when an argument erupted among two ballplayers over balls and strikes.

Koors ordered one of the players to stop arguing and then put a ball in the machine, according to the report from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office. The player was not looking at the machine and the ball struck her hip.

Witness accounts in the police report differ on what happened.

Koors told police she ordered the player four times to stop arguing and resume play then reached down to pick up a ball and put it in the machine thinking the player would be ready for play. At least three players gave similar testimony, according to the report.

According to the report, the machine was set at 55 miles per hour, which was referred to in the report as an “extremely low pitching speed” and “going pretty slow” by two of the witnesses.

The player eventually went back to the dugout and later had another argument with Koors, who suggested she leave the field, which she did.

Of the eight witnesses, at least two felt Koors intended to hit the victim on purpose while another stated the player was standing off of the plate and not in the way of the ball. One witness described the player’s behavior at the plate as “unheated.” One witness said after the player was hit, “Everyone seemed to laugh because they thought it was funny, but they saw (the player) was mad”.

Another alleged Koors and the player had argued several times in the past.

The player’s father called the sheriff’s department that afternoon. Koors was investigated for fourth-degree assault, which is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The report stated the player incurred a minor injury.

The police don’t plan on charging Koors, said Boone County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tom Scheben. The player can press charges through the county attorney. A call to Boone County attorney Bob Neace was not returned Thursday.

“We can’t prove she intentionally put the ball in the machine and caused her physical injury,” Scheben said.

A deputy and a school resource officer questioned Koors and the player, as well as eight other students who witnessed the encounter.

Koors, of Hebron, is also a teacher at Conner High School. Officials with the district and the high school wouldn’t say how long she’s taught at the high school and what she teaches. They also wouldn’t say whether any disciplinary action would be taken against Koors.

The Enquirer has requested Koors personnel records and correspondence on what led up to her resignation as softball coach.

Messages left for Koors were not returned. The mother of the player said her family declined to comment and didn’t know who they could trust.

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