Four sophomores on the Montwood (El Paso, Texas) baseball team were struck with a leather whip by upperclassmen teammates taking turns in a hazing incident during a trip to southeast New Mexico for a playoff series over the weekend, according to an Artesia Police Department report.
The four sophomores, whose names were not released because they are juveniles, were each struck twice on the buttocks by seven upperclassmen taking turns late Friday. One sophomore was struck on the buttocks and another time near the bottom of the rib cage by a whip with four leather strands on one end and a braided handle on the other, Artesia, N.M., police said in a report.
All the sophomores told police they were fine and, had no welts or bruising as a result of the whippings. No one was hospitalized.
Five upperclassmen of the seven upperclassmen – six seniors and one junior – had been taken home by their parents by the time police arrived Saturday morning.
Montwood was playing Midland Lee in a Class 6A, area round playoff series in Artesia on Friday and Saturday in a best two-of-three series.
After losing the first game of the series, 3-2, on Friday, the team forfeited the rest of the series on Saturday.
In a statement on Saturday, Daniel Escobar, Socorro Independent School District chief communication officer, said, “The Montwood High School baseball team forfeited its games today in the Texas 6A playoffs. The decision was made after reports of player misconduct were received and investigated. The coaching staff and administration continue their investigation into the reports at this time.”
Montwood was seeded No. 3 in the state playoffs out of District 1-6A and defeated Lubbock Coronado in last week’s bi-district round of the state playoffs.
Also in the report, Romo stated he had been in contact with all parents of the students involved. The sophomores and parents did not wish to press charges regarding the incident. Head Coach Guillermo Romo was asked by Socorro ISD Superintendent Jose Espinoza to file a police report.