A Kentucky Little League T-ball championship game erupted into a brawl Monday when parents began fighting after a spectator ran onto the field, leaving the young players in tears amid the chaos.
Witnesses told WKYT-TV a spectator ran onto the field in Stanton, 120 miles east of Louisville, prompting the umpire to end the game. A scheduled trophy and medal presentation ceremony were canceled.
The incident began when the opposing coaches got into an argument over a call when the fan ran on the field. Other spectators said the man took off his shirt and began cursing and shoving people. Video footage posted online shows adults joining the altercation and the escalation of the melee.
In one video, someone off-camera can be heard yelling: “Please don’t do this. Think of your family!”
A 911 caller requested authorities respond to the park as tensions escalated.
“Give me a couple of units of to the city park, they are getting pretty wild at the T-ball field believe it or not. They’ve had a fistfight in the middle of the field…” the caller, also an off-duty officer, said, according to the news station.
A parent told the news station she was devastated for the children.
“It was devastating for the kids I couldn’t believe that adults acting like that and I know my little girl was so excited. She had worked all season to get better and get the game balls and she was so excited, and it just got ripped away from them,” the parent said.
Stanton Parks and Recreation said it was still going through videos and reports it has received from the incident.
“While there will be disciplinary actions taken against individuals, we will not be discussing those publicly,” the parks department said in its social media statement.
In a social media post, the Staton Police Department said it was investigating the fight.
On Tuesday, the Parks and Recreation Board announced new changes for the city’s T-ball games.
The changes include the ending of tournaments for the T-ball league and a zero-tolerance policy for verbally assaulting game officials, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.
“This applies to coaches, players, and spectators,” Stanton Parks and Recreation said in a Facebook post. “Umpires should eject the offending party immediately if this rule is violated. An individual who is ejected will not be allowed to return as a coach, player, or spectator to that league for the remainder of the season.”