Tennessee high school baseball teams ended their seasons after a battle on the field

The Tennessee high school baseball playoffs are back in the national news cycle under less than favorable circumstances after two teams had their seasons cut due to an on-field brawl.

The TSSA reprimanded Elizabethton and Unicoi County for the incident that occurred in Saturday’s Division 1-3A playoffs.

According to TVA Credit Union Ballpark reports, the fight began during a close game when a Unicoi County player and an Elizabethton player had a brief altercation at third base after a hit. Seconds later, a punch was thrown, causing the benches to clear and the brawl to escalate.

Grainy video of the fight made its way onto social media.

Play was suspended in the seventh inning after umpires and coaches broke up the brawl, which meant Sunday’s District 1-3A championship game had to be postponed.

The schools subsequently said a “unified” proposal was made to TSSA’s Gene Menes regarding the punishment while the association reviewed the events and reports before proceeding.

By Monday, the fate of the two schools was decided:

  • Unicoi County was fined $1,250
  • The baseball team was placed on restricted 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 restricted probation through the end of this school year as well
  • Elizabethton is on two years of probation until the 2024-2025 school year.

According to reportsUnicoi County will appeal the decision.

The decision marks the second time during the 2023 playoffs that the TSSA has had to decide on a team, resulting in a premature end to the season.

But this scenario was not as trivial as going one pitch over the specified number of pitches— which happened last week in the game between Ensworth and Father Ryan.

Instead, the nature of the altercation was more serious, and the punishment imposed appeared to be consistent with the violation of the TSSAA’s unsportsmanlike conduct rules.

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