Tennessee high school baseball playoffs are back in the national news cycle for less than favorable circumstances after two teams had the season cut short due to an on-field fight.
The TSSA reprimanded Elizabethton and Unicoi County for the incident that took place on Saturday’s Division 1-3A playoffs.
According to TVA Credit Union Ballpark reports, the fight began during the close game when a Unicoi County player and an Elizabethton player had a brief altercation at third base following a hit. Within seconds, a punch was thrown, which led to the benches clearing and the scuffle escalating.
Grainy video of the fight made its way onto social media.
The game was suspended in the seventh inning after the umpires and coaches broke up the brawl, which meant Sunday’s District 1-3A championship game had to be postponed.
In the aftermath, the schools stated a “unified” proposal was made to the TSSA’s Gene Menes regarding the punishment, while the association reviewed the events and reports before proceeding.
By Monday, the fate of both schools had been determined:
- Unicoi County was fined $1,250
- The baseball team was placed on restrictive probation for the remainder of the 2022-23 school year.
- The team is also on probation for the 2023-2024 school year.
- Elizabethton was fined $1,750
- The baseball team is on restrictive probation for the rest of this school year as well
- Elizabethton is under two years of probation until the 2024-2025 school year.
According to reports, Unicoi County will appeal the ruling.
The ruling marks the second time during the 2023 playoffs the TSSA needed to make a judgment on a team that resulted in a premature end to the season.
But this scenario was not as trivial as going one pitch over the allotted pitch count—which happened last week in the game between Ensworth and Father Ryan.
Instead, the nature of the altercation was more severe and the punishment handed down seemed to match the violation of the TSSAA’s unsportsmanlike conduct by-laws.