EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A youth baseball game at the Scott Township Baseball Fields Sunday experienced a different ending than planned after the final at-bat of the game.
Gregory VanBibber, 44, was charged with battery, a Class A misdemeanor, after an altercation with the umpire calling the game behind home plate following a called ball four.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office was called to the baseball field around 5:12 p.m. in reference to a fight between an umpire and VanBibber, an assistant baseball coach with the 14u Eagles Travel Baseball team, which was playing during the call.
Rickey Cassitty, the umpire, had called the game due to the time limit being reached. The Eagles’ head coach came out of the dugout to question him for ending the game.
What occurred next differs between the two parties.
Cassitty told officers VanBibber had been yelling from the dugout about the way he was calling balls and strikes. As Cassitty was talking with the head coach, VanBibber came charging out of the dugout and tackled him to the ground. Cassitty said VanBibber drew his arm back in an attempt to punch him, but by that time the two had been separated.
“This was basically a charity event,” Cassitty told the Courier & Press. “I was asked to umpire some games, and I graciously did. I made a high ball three call, and (VanBibber) started cussing from the dugout. I had called for time and told the gentleman to watch his language. I got back behind the plate and called a ball four. My partner then said that time was over.
“The kids walked on the field to shake hands. I had another coach saying that I was yelling at him. I told him that I was referring to the gentleman cussing in the dugout. The next thing I know, I am on my back.”
The game’s score was 15-6, according to Cassitty, with an Eagles loss.
Cassitty told police he had pain in his right hip where he previously had a hip replacement and scratches on his left elbow.
VanBibber had a different account of the events, according to the affidavit. He said he was upset about the way Cassitty ended the game and admitted to saying “damn” after one call.
After complying with a request from Cassitty to be quiet, VanBibber told the arresting deputy sheriff that he heard Cassitty tell the head coach he ended the game because of the profanity. The assistant coach approached the umpire to confront him and that Cassitty “stepped toward him causing the two to bump each other.” Cassitty then fell to the ground. VanBibber called it an accident and denied attempting to hit Cassitty.
One witness told police he witnessed VanBibber walking out of the dugout in an aggressive manner and chest bumped Cassitty. Others then pulled the coach away from the umpire.
VanBibber could not be reached for a comment. Eagles program director Kevin Brown told the Courier & Press he was notified of the incident last night. He said VanBibber has been relieved of his coaching duties with the team.