Officials Association Says Prep Pitcher Wrongfully Ejected

By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 29, 2006

The ejection of a Richard Montgomery pitcher from a Thursday game after she smiled repeatedly at an umpire when disagreeing with his calls of balls and strikes was rescinded yesterday after the umpires' association contacted Montgomery County Athletic Director Duke Beattie to inform him that home plate umpire John Gretz made an incorrect decision.

The decision means Richard Montgomery senior Candice Thompson will not be suspended for her team's next game. Montgomery County Public School's policy states that any athlete ejected from a game is automatically suspended for the next one.

"Whatever happened, it did not warrant an ejection," said Al Palmer, commissioner of the Cascade Officials Association.

"There's nothing to be done about the game, but she's not suspended for the next game," Beattie said. "[Palmer] said it was an inappropriate decision."

Thompson, the Rockets' pitcher, was ejected in the top of the third inning of a 1-1 game against visiting Springbrook because Gretz cited her for "unsportsmanlike conduct," which included a "mocking laugh" when she disagreed with Gretz's calls, according to the umpire. Gretz said he had warned her before ejecting her.

Thompson and coaches from both teams said all she did was smile.

Palmer said the umpires' association has not yet determined whether Gretz will be sanctioned.

Beattie said he informed Richard Montgomery Athletic Director Leo Campion, who passed the word on to Rockets Coach Watson Prather, who told Thompson at practice yesterday.

Prather informed Thompson of the news at a team meeting just before the start of practice yesterday.

"I'm so happy," Thompson said. "I was scared my team was going to get penalized when nothing happened."

Thompson said Prather apologized to his players for forfeiting, but she added that the Rockets were so angry Thursday they would have had trouble getting back on to the field after her ejection.

As she thought about the episode, Thompson said there is only one thing she can do about it.

"I guess I have something I can laugh about now," she said.

Beattie said the outcome of the game will not change. Shortly after Thompson was ejected, Richard Montgomery forfeited the game.

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