Thursday, June 08, 2006

Umpire, Fan Brawl at Pickup Baseball Game

The umpire called a player safe on a close play at first base. The spectator didn't like it and threw a beer bottle. The umpire dodged it, then punched the fan, knocking out one of his teeth.

That's what Beaufort County deputies said happened at a three-inning pickup baseball game on Hilton Head Island Sunday night.

Tensions between the teams were high because about $3,400 was riding on the outcome, deputies said.

Rony Ruiz, 23, and several other fans stormed the field and began pushing the ump because a run scored on the play at first, cutting the lead of the team they were rooting for to 6-5 in the second inning, authorities said.

After Ruiz threw the bottle at 32-year-old umpire Nelson Montano, he punched Ruiz in the mouth, knocking out a tooth, according to a police report.

The men, whom Montano said are friends, appeared on Monday in municipal court, where they agreed to drop the charges.

And Ruiz's team ended up winning 7-5, Montano said.



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