Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 12, 2013

Sports briefs


The Register-News

---- — Cubs prospect banned for wielding bat

CHICAGO (AP) — Cubs prospect Jorge Soler has been suspended five games for charging the visiting team's dugout during a Florida State League game with a bat.

Soler was suspended Thursday.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says the organization supports Soler but condemns his actions Wednesday night. Epstein says the Cubs will work to help Soler "better channel his emotions on the field."

Playing for Class-A Daytona, Soler grabbed a bat from his dugout and approached the dugout of the Clearwater Threshers during the seventh inning. Epstein said he was told there was some back and forth with another player, which included comments about Soler's family. Soler was restrained before he reached the dugout.

The 21-year-old Cuban signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs last year and is in his first full professional season in the United States.

2 Illinois boys' basketball coaches on probation ST. LOUIS (AP) — The governing body of Illinois high school athletics put two boys' basketball coaches on probation and imposed other sanctions for what the group's chief called "an ugly and embarrassing incident" during the state championship game last month.

The Illinois High School Association's action Wednesday followed its investigation of events during and after Harrisburg's victory March 9 over South Holland Seton Academy in the Class 2A championship, marred by what the IHSA said was questionable conduct by a player and an obscene outburst by one coach.

Some of the questioned conduct followed the first-half ejection of Seton Academy's Mark Weems Jr. after he was whistled for his second technical foul, the last for making contact with an official.

In the tunnel during halftime, IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said, Weems' coach, Brandon Thomas, "delivered an obscenity-laced tirade in the presence of student-athletes," then initially refused to participate with Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters in an effort by tournament officials to quell the situation.

"When (Thomas) eventually appeared, his demeanor made it clear that he would not be a conduit for positive change," Hickman said. "There is no place for that type of behavior in high school athletics, and no outcome of a high school sporting event warrants it."

After the game, Hickman said, Thomas snubbed offers of congratulations from the IHSA's directors and Gov. Pat Quinn, threw the runner-up medal to an assistant, exited the court and had a verbal confrontation with a fan before being restrained by security and police from entering the stands.

Hickman said Smithpeters "crossed the line early in the game with his actions toward the game officials" and should have been issued a first-half technical foul for blatantly stepping out of his coach's box.

"His behavior set a negative tone for the players and fans and contributed to a hostile environment that only grew worse during the first half," Hickman said.

The association banned Smithpeters, the school's assistant principal, from postseason coaching next season, unless he completes a behavioral-training program. Thomas received a two-year postseason ban. Both coaches are on probation for next school year.

"This was an ugly and embarrassing incident," Hickman said in a statement, insisting that both schools and the officials "all share in the blame for the outcome."