Two North Carolina girls’ softball teams are now banned from future tournaments after their parents and fans were caught brawling over apparently questionable calls made by an umpire.
The chaotic fight – captured on video Saturday at the Brickyard Park fields in Kingsport, Tenn. – involved those affiliated with the East Wilkes Cardinals and the Blue Ridge Explosion teams, the town’s athletic program coordinator said.
“The Cardinals had won a game prior to this fight and they were supposed to play the winner of Blue Ridge and (another team),” Todd McLemore told the Kingsport News-Times. “Apparently, some spectators were very vocal towards the umpire calls in favor of Blue Ridge and it just got louder and louder.”
McLemore said a verbal confrontation broke out between parents of both teams, and after someone pushed another person down an embankment – then came the fists.
“Kingsport TN MMA, wait a minute I mean softball,” Bryan Sayers, who posted the viral video on Facebook, wrote in a caption.
Shrieks and screams can be heard in the video as the two sides pile on top of each other. At one point, two of the players try to break up the ruckus.
McLemore told the Kingsport News-Times that both teams were competing in a USA Softball-sponsored 12 and under tournament.
There were no reported injuries or arrests stemming from the brawl, but Tina Gale, the regional director of USA Softball, told the newspaper that both teams were banned from the tournament and future competitions.
“I’ve done this for 10 years and never once had a physical altercation. This was the first and hopefully the last,” she said. “We run a very clean organization, we run good tournaments, but unfortunately it happened on our dime and we don’t take things like this lightly. We would never condone that kind of conduct.”