Baseball has its share of unwritten rules, and Dover-Foxcroft (Me.) Foxcroft Academy broke just about every one of them, so a Hermon (Me.) High pitcher intentionally pegged a Foxcroft batter. Now Hermon coach Aaron Brideau has been relieved of his duties as a result of it.
The events in question happened during a regular-season game between the teams, which forced junior varsity coach Justin Perry to man the Hermon bench in Brideau's place as the team's season move forward, according to a Bangor Daily News report (h/t Barstool Sports).
Back to the game in question. Leading 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Foxcroft's Brooks Law dropped a suicide-squeeze bunt single to score a run and then proceeded to steal both second and third. Finally fed up with an opposing team stealing 16 bases in a lopsided victory, the unnamed Hermon pitcher reportedly drilled Foxcroft's Caleb Richard with the ensuing pitch. It's unclear if Hermon pitcher hit Richard after receiving direct instructions to do so from Brideau or whether he acted out of his own volition.
As for Foxcroft's excuse for being so aggressive on the basepaths? The Ponies had a doubleheader in two days, so they wanted to mercy rule Hermon as quickly as possible to save two measly innings of pitching work. Despite that clear disregard for common sportsmanship, it was Foxcroft coach Mark Chevalier who complained to the paper about his foe's poor sportsmanship.
“It did seem suspicious because they were clearly getting very frustrated and it felt like the pitcher really reared back and put something extra on that pitch,” Chevalier told the Bangor Daily News. “I said so to the umpire and he kind of agreed but we both said that we know there’s no way to prove intent so there was nothing we could do about it.”
Unfortunately, Richard missed the remainder of the game -- which ended 11-1 in the game's next at-bat -- and the ensuing doubleheader due to injury, but he has joined the Foxcroft lineup since, according to the report. Based on baseball's unwritten rules, Richard's teammate and coach are just as much to blame as the Hermon pitcher or coach.
For now, it doesn't appear Chevalier is willing to admit that.
“Our kids play the game hard," he told the Daily News, "and they play it the right way. People who understand baseball can see that."
His approach has certainly produced results, including a Class B state title last season, but it probably doesn't make a ton of friends along the way, either.
That's especially true of Brideau, a former Husson University assistant coach who is without a job while his team battles within one win of a postseason berth.