An incident involving parents at a previous Schenectady Little League playoff game may have cost the District 12 11-12-year-old champions a game on their Northside home field.
Police were called to a 9-10-year-old playoff game between Schenectady and Saratoga National on July 7 in Saratoga Springs, though by the time the authorities arrived, the game had ended.
The following Monday, teams from the same leagues opened their 11-12-year-old three-game playoff at Saratoga. During that game, Todd Lee, the father of a Schenectady player, was asked to leave the game by the umpires. Following Saratoga’s 7-0 win in that game, District 12 administrator Charlie Fitzgerald and his District 11 counterpart, Dan DeCelle, conferred and opted to move the remainder of the series to a neutral field, taking under consideration alleged safety concerns voiced by Saratoga parents if a game was played in Schenectady.
The following night’s Game 2 was moved from Northside LL to Collins Park in Scotia.
“I wasn’t at either game, but it’s been going on a long time with the Schenectady group,” said Fitzpatrick on Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick said he relied on DeCelle’s on-site report in making the decision to alter the schedule.
“It wasn’t the same people, because it was two different tournaments,” Fitzpatrick said. “How should I say this? It didn’t help.”
Saratoga National vice-president Dave Karpinski confirmed that police were called when parents from both teams got into a verbal dispute at the 9-10-year-old game.
“I wasn’t there, but I can say that was what happened,” said Karpinski, the manager of the league’s 11-12-year-old team. “Everyone had dispersed by the time the police got there because there was a severe storm and the game was called.
“There was an incident at the 9-10-year-old game that was regretable. It may or may not have caused them to pull the game next week, but I really can’t say. But the games involved two different teams from each league, so it’s unlikely that is was the same groups of parents at both games. I don’t know if it’s relevant, but the only two incidents had to do with the same two programs.”
Schenectady Little League president Ryan Pezzano strongly disagreed with the decision that cost his league’s team a home game. Schenectady’s season ended that night with a 14-8 loss.
“I wasn’t at that [9-10] game, but I do believe that was probably used against us,” Pezzano said. “I’ve said it before, our league is not perfect, but I do believe that did play a role.”
Saratoga National was eliminated in the next round by Plattsburgh.