The Norman North baseball team's spring break trip to Florida was supposed to a relatively relaxing trip and a way for the Timberwolves to build up some extra game experience before coming home to jump back into district play.
But the Timberwolves' third-place game in the 20th annual Tate Aggie Classic on Thursday at Pensacola's Blue Wahoos Stadium turned heated.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with Norman North leading 2-1 and the bases loaded, Jacksonville's Arlington Country Day pitcher Jonathan Rodriguez fired a wild pitch that sent D.J. Gasso racing home to score.
Gasso easily beat catcher Brian Navarreto's throw to Rodriguez but the pitcher applied a late tag, then appeared to slap Gasso in the face with his pitching hand.
Umpire Jason Young immediately ejected Rodriguez and then Navarreto walked up and punched Gasso in the face, according to the Pensacola News Journal, setting off a brawl.
The game was called as a double forfeit after the brawl settled down.
“You walk that line in athletics where you try to teach your kids to fight and be tough, but yet still play under control,” Norman North coach Brian Aylor told the paper. “When the play at the plate occurred, and their guy threw the punch and hits our guy, then our guy has the responsibility to defend himself, and it just goes from there.
“It gets out of control in a hurry. The adults did the best they could to control the atmosphere and I think they made the right decision of calling the game.”
Aylor was unavailable for comment Sunday.
Arlington Country Day coach Ron Dickerson accused Norman North of hurling racially charged insults toward his players.
“The racism has to stop,” Dickerson told the paper. “This can't keep going on. The game is baseball, not these antics.”
EDMOND NORTH FINISHES SECOND IN TOURNEY
Another Oklahoma team nearly brought home the championship trophy at the Tate Aggie Classic.
Defending Class 6A state champion Edmond North led 1-0 going into the seventh inning before Pensacola Washington scored a pair to claim an unlikely title.
Washington entered the tournament on an 11-game losing streak.
The Huskies put a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the inning but couldn't push the tying run across.
Edmond North was 3-0 in pool play, allowing just two runs in three games to advance to the finals.
Norman North was 3-0 before its double forfeit. Westmoore was 2-1. Jay, Tahlequah and Pryor each went 1-2 and Grove, Washington and Claremore were 0-3 in the tournament.
BY RYAN ABER