Credit: abcactionnews.com – HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – “It’s the big event at the end of the softball season. It’s an exciting and fun time,” said Debbie Bretz.
It was an All-Star game. The best 12-year old softball players in the Miss Florida Softball League — Lakeland’s Christina Girls versus Auburndale.
“It was a difficult game with lots of questionable calls,” said Bretz.
But the girls” softball game turned into a spectacle on the field when a coach questioned an umpire’s judgment and a heated argument erupted near home plate.
“That’s where there becomes a little push and shove between the coach and the umpire. There’s a little bit of chest bumping and finally in the end, the coach head-bumps the ref and ends up hitting him right at the bridge of his nose,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff”s Spokesperson Cristal Bermudez Nunez.
Hillsborough County Sheriff”s Deputies arrested Gordon Moore for battery on a sports official.
But coaches and parents say that isn’t what happened at all, including a mom who was watching the game unfold from the stands.
“I absolutely am positive I did not see Gordon make contact with the umpire. The umpire was just as aggressive as Gordon. He was in his face,” explained Bretz.
Bretz says Moore did not head-butt the umpire. Christina Girls Assistant Coach Moises Cardona was inches away and backs-up her story saying the umpire was the one who got violent, throwing a punch.
“He was standing right next to me. They were shouting at each other. He told him, ‘You’re outta here.’ Gordon told him ‘Well, I’m outta here,’ and he sucker-punched him,” said Cardona.
Deputies say the USSSA or the United States Specialty Sports Association Umpire, Stephen Connell, wasn’t arrested because he acted in self-defense.
These parents see things differently but they do agree the real loss was for the girls who were whisked off the field.
“Sad thing, at the end of the day, who’s suffering? The kids. My child, she’s scarred. She’s telling me I don’t know if I want to play softball,” said Cardona.
“I’m sad that the girls didn’t get to have closure at the end and go out and shake hands. It’s unfortunate that grown-ups have to interfere with that,” said Bretz.