Baseball: Brawl results in suspensions for St. Rita, St. Laurence
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2012 9:06PM
St. Rita baseball coach Mike Zunica. | File photo
Updated: July 3, 2012 8:54AM
It may not be a final verdict, but for the time being, the IHSA has agreed with baseball powers St. Laurence and St. Rita on their self-imposed penalties in the wake of Friday’s brawl.
“We will have some players and coaches sitting today’s (Wednesday’s) games,” IHSA assistant executive directory Craig Anderson said. “(Executive director) Dr. (Marty) Hickman is out of the office (Wednesday) and we will do a final review the information and video (Thursday). If more is to come, it will happen (Thursday).”
St. Rita first baseman Rick Faron and coach Mike Zunica received two-game suspensions and assistant coach Rich Josepher three games. Each already has served one game leading into the Mustangs’ Class 4A regional opener Wednesday against Curie.
St. Laurence chose not to release the names of its players suspended. Coach Pete Lotus and assistant coach Adam Lotus, along with six players, all were given one-game suspensions. They all missed Wednesday’s regional opener against Proviso East.
An additional player was suspended three games.
Unless the IHSA makes a new ruling Thursday, these suspensions will close the book on the incident, which occurred Friday at Silver Cross Field in Joliet as part of the “Do It Stevie’s Way Challenge.”
It started when Lewis ran into Faron as Faron was catching Lewis’s popup near first base during the bottom of the seventh inning. Faron responded with a two-handed shove to Lewis’ upper body, setting off a benches-clearing brawl.
“We took a look at everything many, many times and came up with some form of suspensions,” Pete Lotus said. “I’ve talked to our administrations about this never happening again. Our players understand the issues people had with what happened Friday and they’ve been very supportive of each other and the school.”
Zunica accepted the punishment.
“I feel like our school did a great job of taking ownership and applying proper action to the suspensions levied,” Zunica said. “I felt like the state had to do what they had to do to show their disappointment in an ugly situation.”
The Catholic League released a statement, saying, it is “deeply disappointed and embarrassed by the incident that occurred during the St. Laurence-St. Rita baseball game played on Friday, May 18, as part of the ‘Do It Stevie’s Way’ showcase. The Chicago Catholic League is the oldest continuously running high school athletic conference in the country and over the past century, the reputation of our league has been exemplary in the areas of academics, athletics and citizenship.
“Our conference has faith in the administrations at both schools and expects that proper measures will be taken to discipline the coaches and players who were involved in this incident. We also have complete trust in the IHSA to oversee the facilitation of this process.”