Pennsylvania baseball coach charged after pulling handgun on parent following argument with umpire

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Another argument at a youth baseball game spiraled into disturbing behavior when a Babe Ruth League baseball coach pulled a handgun on the parent of one of his players after an argument with an umpire.

Babe Ruth baseball coach John Zahradnik — Lackawanna County Sheriff
Babe Ruth baseball coach John Zahradnik — Lackawanna County Sheriff

As reported by the Scranton Times-Tribune and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre TV network WNET, 39-year-old Babe Ruth Baseball League coach John Zahradnik was charged with reckless endangerment and harassment after he attacked a baseball parent with his truck, his body and then threatened to use a handgun on the man.

The incident began on Friday, when Zahradnik disagreed with an umpire's call during a game, emerging from the dugout to start a fiery argument. After finishing with the umpire, the coach reportedly turned to parents in the crowd, with one woman approaching the coach and starting a second argument.

That's when a witness at the scene, Jose Irizarry, put himself between Zahradnik and the woman in an effort to keep the situation from escalating. While Irizarry succeeded in protecting the woman, he couldn't save himself from significant future risk.

According to the Times-Tribune, after Zahradnik's argument with the woman finished, the coach and Irizarry engaged in a brief argument that concluded when Irizarry walked away, picked up his baseball equipment and walked toward his car. Yet, instead of ending the disagreement, Zahradnik ran to his own pickup truck and attempted to run over Irizarry, who was still en route to his vehicle.

Babe Ruth baseball coach John Zahradnik with his son — Facebook
Babe Ruth baseball coach John Zahradnik with his son — Facebook

Unable to run over the parent, Zahradnik got out and threw Irizarry to the ground and began punching him. As soon as Irizarry could free himself from the coach's grasp he ran toward his vehicle, but Zahradnik told Irizarry he had a gun, walked back to his truck and calmly pulled a firearm out of his vehicle.

Luckily, another onlooker yelled that Zahradnik had a gun to all around and succeeded in pushing him back into his truck, at which point the enraged coach drove off instead of returning to the argument.

While the coach was released after posting a $20,000 bail, the coach faces future court dates and is extremely unlikely to see a  baseball field again anytime soon.

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