The Oakland Mills baseball team has yet to play its first game, and Scorpions coach Bill Winder has already dealt with the season's firstcrisis.
Winder yesterday dismissed six players who allegedly abducted and beat an Oakland Mills lacrosse player, an incident police say was triggered by a scuffle between baseball and lacrosse players after a March 9 practice.
Each player served a five-day school suspension before returning to Oakland Mills yesterday.
"They (the baseball players) made a big mistake," said Winder, who took over the baseball team this year after running the program for three years during the mid-1970s.
"Personally, this turns my stomach," he said. "Life is all about decisions you make and options you have when you're put into certain situations. They made a serious error in judgment. I had to do what's best inmy mind and best for the program. Now, we've got to put this incident behind us."
Police said the 16-year-old lacrosse player was approached on the school parking lot by a group of baseball players, who threw him into the back of a station wagon.
The suspects, who wereall charged as juveniles with abduction and assault, allegedly kicked and punched the victim, then drove him several blocks from the school, where police say they threw the victim out of the car and continued to beat him.
After leaving the victim and driving away, the suspects were arrested a short time later, police said. The victim was taken to Howard County General Hospital, where he was treated for wrist injuries and bruises and released.
By dismissing the players -- all of whom are underclassmen -- Winder cut his varsity roster from 20 to 14. Of the six released players, he said, three were potential starters.
"I can't say enough about the way the team has handled this," Winder said. "I've still got a great bunch of kids out there busting their tails for me every day."
Dave Bruzga, the school's principal, said, "This is not the kind of image we want. This is not consistent with the image of a student-athlete we are trying to project. That kind of behavior is unacceptable."