It's important to teach young ballplayers to remain in the batter's box in such situations, but one Dallas area instructor took that lesson a step -- or one giant leap -- too far.
Ron Santos, a select baseball league coach in his mid-20s, was sentenced to 15 days of jail, a $500 fine and 18 months of probation for assault with bodily injury after firing fastballs at a 15-year-old youth baseball player in a sadistic session that he reportedly argued would "teach players how to take a pitch," according to CBS 11 News (h/t Big Lead).
A Waxahachie, Texas native, Santos allegedly hurled roughly 15 pitches between 60-80 miles per hour at the teenager, inflicting bruises on the kid's arms, legs and back.
"The coach was standing approximately 50 feet off from the batter and was throwing hardcore baseballs — intentionally throwing them at the batters — at the kids," Ellis County Sheriff's Office Lt. James Saulter told WFAA-TV.
While at least one other coach ripped his fellow instructor for the approach, Santos remains on the staff of Waxahachie’s “Gear Up Baseball Academy" with support from other players and their parents, according to the local CBS affiliate's report.
"It would be like teaching kids to step into the street to get hit by a car," prosecuting attorney Nan Udell told the news station. "Just stand there and say, 'I'm gonna hit you with a car, turn the right way, because if you got hit by a really fast car, it could kill you.'"
Santos' attorney, Monica Bishop, argued her client's innocence by telling the local ABC affiliate, "The genesis of this is likely competitive business in this town -- vindictive competitive business," but the bruises on the boy's body seem to tell a different story.
Here's a novel idea from Lt. Saulter: Try tennis balls or whiffle balls. They don't hurt as much. In fact, you may see a little whiffle ball chin music at the next Panama practice.