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Police called following brawl at Little League Championships

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The Canadian Press
8/12/2010 6:18:47 PM
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SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Heckling by members of a team from Quebec sitting in the stands at the Canadian Senior Little League Championships escalated into a brawl Thursday with players on the host team from Saint John, N.B., police said.

Sgt. Pat Bonner of Saint John police said the brawl erupted after tensions all week long between players -- aged 15 and 16 -- on the teams from Valleyfield, Que., and Saint John.

Members of the Valleyfield team were in the stands at Memorial Field, he said, heckling as Saint John played Edmonton in the semi-final.

After Edmonton won the game 1-0, he said players from Saint John jumped a fence.

"That's when the fight broke out," he said. "None of the parents or patrons were, of course, involved in this fight. It was between the two teams."

Bonner said a woman in her 70s fell to the ground as a result of the "melee, if you will, of people grabbing and shoving." She was taken to hospital as a precaution, but Bonner said no one was seriously injured.

He said no charges are expected.

Valleyfield manager Alain Fauteux told News 88.9 in Saint John that problems between the two teams stem from a game they played that was suspended by fog on Monday and resumed on Tuesday.

Fauteux said the umpire stopped the game after batters from Saint John, which won the contest 10-9, had the benefit of an extra inning.

"The situation is probably because the umpire ... changed the tournament for my team," he said. "We practiced all summer long to come here ... and now one guy changed the game."

Fauteux asserted that the fight also included players from Ontario and Nova Scotia, who were also in the stands.

Norah Sullivan-O'Toole was watching Thursday's game when she said some members of the Quebec team began hurling obscenities.

"It was trash talk that just went wild," said Sullivan-O'Toole, whose husband is one of the tournament's directors.

After being heckled for seven innings and then losing the game, she said some Saint John players "just lost it."

She said her husband tried to stop a Saint John player from confronting the other team, but he was pulled back by other non-uniformed young people.

Sullivan-O'Toole said it was difficult to see who was fighting and who was trying to stop the chaos.

"It just went crazy all so quickly and you weren't really sure who was fighting and who was trying to pull people off," she said. "It was real upsetting."

Sullivan-O'Toole said the incident was a black eye for a tournament that she's enjoyed so much in the past.

"It wasn't a fine moment for baseball."

The president of Little League Canada said the incident will be reviewed and a disciplinary hearing will be held within the next few days.

Roy Bergerman said it's an awkward situation.

"If there was some kind of a fight during a game, then the umpires deal with that, and that's all covered with rules and regulations," he said in an interview from Ancaster, Ont. "It's a different area when they're off the field and the game is over, and in fact some of the participants in this weren't even involved in the game."

Bergerman said there is a code of conduct and decorum that players and coaches are expected to follow, and the incident in Saint John is disappointing.

He said there should be no heckling, and players are encouraged to cheer good plays and ignore the bad.

"We hoped that it would have stopped, and been stopped, by the coaches and managers involved prior to this."

He said while the season is now over for many of those involved, they could still face suspensions next year.

The tournament is made up of five teams representing different regions of the country. The winning team takes part in an international tournament in Bangor, Maine, next week. Neither Saint John or Valleyfield made the final.

-- By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton and Melanie Patten in Halifax

Baseball (Photo: Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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