School may play first ever state tourney game without coach

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

For the first time in school history, Harmony (Fla.) High is heading to the state softball playoffs. Unfortunately, the man who led them there might not be allowed to attend the state semifinal game.

Harmony softball
Harmony softball

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Harmony coach Ralph King was ejected from his team's 3-2, regional final victory against Dade City (Fla.) Pasco High. The reason for his ejection remains unclear. King said all he did was approach an umpire and complain about the Pasco fans being unruly and he was eventually ejected. 

The coach doesn't have a history of disciplinary issues, leaving his dismissal out of character for he and his program.

Because ejections in Florida carry a standard penalty of seven days and at least two games suspension, King is ruled out of his team's state meeting against Bradenton (Fla.) Braden River High.

Not surprisingly, the coach and his team aren't too happy with the unexpected situation.

"I am going through the appeals process," King told the Sentinel. "I talked to my principal this morning about it. Before we can file a formal appeal though, the official has to file his report."

The delay in the officials' report is putting any chance of King appearing in his team's big game in question. The state semifinal is scheduled for Monday night, leaving King just two more days to file the appeal, and have it heard by an FHSAA board.

It's possible that King could file an injunction to allow himself to coach his team, but that currently seems to be an unlikely choice, even while the current situation threatens to keep him away from the finest moment thus far in his coaching career.

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