A parent of a Southern Maryland American Legion baseball player has been charged with second-degree assault for allegedly grabbing an opposing player by the throat and lifting him off the ground following a game at La Plata High School on June 15.

Charles County police said they issued a summons yesterday to Dale Dockery, of Owings, to appear in court at a later date. Dockery allegedly assaulted Darren Peterson, who plays for McDonough High and the Design Corps team, based in La Plata. Dockery's son, Bryan, is the starting catcher for Northern High and the Calvert team.

Dockery denied the charge last night.

"My hand hit his chest, [and] stopped him," he said.

Dockery did say his hand could have reached Peterson's neck. But he denied he lifted Peterson off the ground.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "I can get plenty of witnesses [to verify] that. . . . In my opinion, the kid lost his temper, and he's blowing it out of proportion."

Peterson, 18, couldn't be reached to comment.

After the game, which Calvert won, 7-4, Peterson and a teammate approached at least one member of the Calvert team in the La Plata parking lot, according to La Plata police officer Harold Cunningham, who was called to the scene.

Peterson told Cunningham that Dockery stepped between them, then grabbed him by the throat and lifted him, letting go after a few seconds.

Peterson was not injured and played in another game two days later, according to Design Corps Coach Dan Devitis.

Second-degree assault is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, said Michael DiLorenzo of the state's attorney's office in La Plata.