Brandon Lineberry's two-game suspension by the VHSL has been overturned, but Carroll County's baseball team must forfeit its game with Abingdon scheduled for May 4 as part of a one-game team suspension.
Carroll County's scheduled Southwest District baseball game set for May 4 at 5 p.m with Abingdon will now go down as a forfeit as part of a suspension for the team's involvement in a brawl at Tazewell on Tuesday.
Early in the day Friday, Carroll County administrators received word that a one-game team suspension had been overturned and the Cavaliers could play the game with Abingdon. However, Carroll County Athletic Director Darrin Matthews told The Carroll News at 1 p.m. Friday that he had just gotten off the phone with Executive Director Ken Tilley of the VHSL, who informed him that the decision had been reversed and the team would have to serve a one-game suspension. Additionally, four players Matthews would not name have been suspended for two games. He said Carroll County did win an appeal to overturn a two-game suspension for Brandon Lineberry, who collided with Tazewell catcher Gavin Yates during Tuesday's game. The Carroll baseball team has also been fined $300, issued a written warning from the VHSL, and Tuesdays' game with Tazewell resulted in a double forfeiture by both teams. Tazewell's baseball team also has been suspended for a game and two players are suspended for two games, according to reports from other media outlets.
Asked if Carroll could appeal the decision, Matthews felt like the VHSL's ruling was final.
“We have appealed all we can,” he said. “I think it is a shame because we had so many kids in the dugout doing what they were supposed to do.”
Video of Tuesday's game with Tazewell was posted on Bluefield, West Va. NBC station WVVA's website showing the incident and one leading up to it in the first inning.
In the third inning, Carroll County's Isaac Sumner ripped a fly ball to right field over the outfielder's head. Reece Edwards came in to score and Brandon Lineberry followed. Tazewell catcher Gavin Yates blocked the plate without the ball, resulting in a collision with Lineberry. As Lineberry was on the ground trying to touch home plate, Yates is shown standing over Lineberry and swiping his feet at Lineberry's arms as Lineberry is trying to touch home. Carroll County batter Aaron Hooven, who was in the on-deck circle, is then shown pushing Yates down in response. Hooven is then shown being tackled by another Tazewell player, and at that point players from both teams are shown rushing in as the situation escalated.
Video is also shown in the first inning of Carroll's Ryan Gravley laying down a suicide squeeze. The video shows Yates and Gravley collide after the bunt, and Taylor Case came in to score from third base. The umpire ruled the play batter's interference, however, calling both Gravley and Case out on the play.
Carroll County was leading when the game was called.