Berkeley Little League manager charged with hitting teen umpire

Credit: – BERKELEY – A Little League baseball manager has been charged with assault after witnesses told police he slapped a 17-year-old umpire who had ejected him from a game.

The manager, Thomas Murphy, 43, of Yaffa Road, Bayville, faces two counts of simple assault, according to Detective Sgt. Jim Smith, a spokesman for the township police department.

STAFF UPDATE: Berkeley Little League coach suspended after assault charges

Smith said Patrolman Michael O’Connor found Murphy, manager for the Mets Little League team, at his home after Murphy had left the field after the incident.

Murphy was issued two summonses – one for simple assault and another for simple assault at a sporting event in the presence of children under the age of 16, Smith said.

No court date has been set for Murphy, Smith said.

Smith said witnesses told police they saw Murphy “strike the umpire with an open right hand to his right ear.”

Smith said the 17-year-old umpire said he didn’t need medical treatment.

The ages of the baseball players who witnessed the umpire get slapped were 10, 11 and 12 years old, he said.

Police responded at about 8 p.m. to the Berkeley Little League Moorage Complex Field M2 where they gathered information and questioned witnesses to the incident.

“There was an argument about a call (on the basepaths), and the umpire ejected the coach from the game,” said Smith.

“When the umpire walked away, the coach smacked him in the ear,” Smith said.

Bob Everett, president of the Berkeley Little League, was coaching another Little League game on an adjacent field, and said league officials are trying to “sort out what happened.”

“The police are doing their investigation and there will be follow up …,” said Everett. “I was coaching a game on the field next door and I did not witness the incident.

“Obviously, we don’t stand for that type of behavior and it will be dealt with as strongly as possible once we get all the facts,” Everett said.

Violence at Little League games “won’t be tolerated,” Everett said.

“We will go through the proper process, but he (the manager) will be dismissed without a doubt. You know, “we work hard around here,” Everett said. “We have coach’s training, parent training. Sometimes it just doesn’t take.”

The league president was relieved no one was badly injured.

“Everybody’s fine. There are no serious injuries, but obviously this is inappropriate behavior – to say the least – at any sports game, and it will be handled,” he said.

Everett said he immediately suspended the game between the Dodgers and the Mets Little League teams.

“It was my decision as president to suspend the game. The game obviously wasn’t important at that point (after the incident),” Everett said.

The incident is the second report recently of adults misbehaving at a youth sporting event.

In Little Silver last month, a parent was arrested on an assault charge and both teams were ejected from the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional at Red Bank Regional baseball game after a brawl emptied benches in the bottom of the sixth inning.

During the scuffle, a Rumson-Fair Haven parent came on the field and assaulted a Red Bank Regional player, Little Silver Police Lt. Robert Frank said at the time.

Police charged Patrick Maisto, 49, of Rumson with simple assault, Frank said. And it’s not the first time there has been trouble at a Berkeley Little League game.

In July, 2011, a Little League game was disrupted by a township man who threw a punch at a coach who was in a dugout, according to previous reports in the Asbury Park Press.

Local resident Tom Kwatkoski, also a member of the Berkeley Little League executive board, was charged with simple assault after he allegedly went into a dugout and struck Denton “Denny” Munson, a Toms River coach, according to Berkeley police.

Munson was vice president of operations for the Toms River East Little League. He also was coaching the Toms River East Little League 10-and-under team when the incident happened.

According to the Berkeley Little League Facebook Page, there is a board meeting at 8:30 p.m. today, and a mandatory managers and coaches meeting tomorrow at 8 a.m.