FLORENCE, Ala. (WSFA) - The season has come to an unfortunate end for the Opp All-Stars Ponytail team, but it had nothing to do with the group of hardworking 11- and 12-year-old girls.
Two of their coaches were kicked out of the tournament following a fight Monday.
It happened during the Game 4 match-up between Opp and Montgomery American in the Alabama Dixie Softball state tournament being played at Underwood Recreational Park, a suburb of Florence in north Alabama.
Warren Bowron, Alabama State Director of Alabama Dixie Softball, said the game was competitive and going well with the score at 3-2 when the incident happened. Bowron said it wasn’t clear what sparked the confrontation between coaches.
Video of the game streamed to Facebook showed the softball field, then yelling and screaming as adults raced toward the dugout to intervene in an off-camera scuffle. Players looked on as some unidentified adults directed them back to their dugouts.
“We can’t tolerant coaches attacking other coaches. Period. End of story," Bowron said, stating that “through our investigation, it appears physical contact was made.”
Obie Evans, the president of Alabama Dixie Softball, confirmed the coaches were removed, but could not immediately identify them. Bowron also declined to identify the coaches saying there may be potential legal issues pending.
Being removed from the tournament may not be the end of it for the two coaches. “We will review all that happened and they may be where they can’t coach again in Dixie Softball,” Evans said.
Police were called to the scene, Bowron said. The tournament director was informed that conditions were unsafe to continue game play. “It became obvious that even if played a week from now, it was not going to be a good situation,” Bowron explained. “Any forcing those teams to play wasn’t going to work.”
The state director said the decision was made to remove Opp from the tournament due to the actions of the coaches, citing among other reasons talk from both sides that having them play again was escalating to people indicating they were “going to get even.”
“It’s very misfortunate that a coach or coaches...it comes to this,” Bowron explained. “It’s a kids’ game. It’s for the kids. We teach life lessons through this, and this is one of the life lessons we don’t want to have to teach.”
Montgomery American continues on in the tournament.
Bowron said all the other tournament games are going “really well,” though they’re dealing with a lot of rain.
If weather permits, they hope to crown champions in all divisions Tuesday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article initially indicated the game happened Sunday. It actually happened Monday. Also, this article has been updated to clarify the organization in question is Alabama Dixie Softball, not Dixie Youth Softball, which could be confused with Dixie Youth Baseball, a separate entity.