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Four Allegedly Attack Softball Umpires

April 15, 2005

ODESSA, Texas (AP) _ Four men’s softball players face misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly attacking two umpires earlier this week after some were thrown out of a game.

Umpire Justin Skiles, 21, said he suffered two broken bones in his hands and cuts and bruises when the men jumped him. Another umpire, Justin Bartlett, 19, also was hit as he tried to help Skiles.

The alleged assaults happened Tuesday evening after Skiles ejected two players on an Odessa recreational softball league team for using inappropriate language, Skiles said. He then tossed out a third team member after the player threatened Skiles, he said.

Skiles said he got hit in the back of the head as he walked to home plate after the inning ended.

``It knocked me to the ground,″ Skiles said. ``I hit him back, but at that time there were four of them out there. I just got pummeled.″

Before the fight was over, both teams had flooded the field and surrounded the fight. Members of the other team tried to intervene to help him, Skiles said.

Odessa police said they are investigating the case as a Class A misdemeanor assault.

Mabel Powell, president of Odessa Softball Unlimited, which oversees the team involved, said the organization on Wednesday voted to ban for life the four accused players. The bans will be sent to two national softball associations, which historically honor such suspensions.

The entire team has been suspended for one game, and players who were at the Tuesday game will remain on probation the rest of the calendar year, Powell said.

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Information from the Odessa American, http://www.oaoa.com

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