Coaches, parents & players suspended after 'brawl' at youth baseball game

KANSAS CITY - Coaches, parents and players from the 13-year-old KC Barnstormers and the KC Bulldogs were suspended Tuesday for a fight during a game on April 1.

Police responded to report of a fight between 20 coaches and parents at Tiffany Hills Sports Complex that Sunday evening. 

Police said several obscenities and insults had been exchanged between the teams throughout the game.

According to the police report, when KC Barnstormers manager Michael Giannola requested the umpire to warn the KC Bulldogs' coaching staff for its inappropriate behavior, a fight ensued.

Thomas Silvio, a KC Bulldogs parent, was charged with non-aggravated assault for allegedly punching Giannola in the face.

Both teams play in the United States Specialty Sports Association, USSSA, which issued suspensions to Giannola, Silvio, KC Bulldogs manager Carl Occhipinto, several coaches, parents and players.

USSSA Vice President Wally Fortuna said Silvio received the maximum suspension of one year but said the league's board is considering extending the suspension to five years.

Fortuna issued a statement:

USSSA has a zero tolerance policy for any unsportsmanlike conduct. In 2011 there were over 78,000 teams representing over 1 million players participating in USSSA Baseball events. This type of incident is very rare and will be dealt with according to USSSA policy. All participants that were determined to have violated USSSA rules have been suspended from USSSA events for up to one year and possibly up to five years.

We are very disappointed by the unsportsmanlike conduct of the adults and will work to hold them accountable for their behavior not only in this incident but in the future.

"It's too bad for the kids.  That's the sad part because now the kids don't get to play baseball," Northland Baseball League Director Mike Anderson said.  "Coaches should be suspended, whatever parents that were involved, but now the kids are the ones who are punished."

Kristin Allender has two sons who play at the ball park and said fighting is not the example coaches should set for their players.

"We count on them to be positive role models for our kids, and in this case it didn't happen," Allender said.

41 Action News contacted Silvio and Occhipinto, but they were unavailable for comment.

KC Barnstormers founder Karl Carswell said his organization condemns fighting, but he would not comment on the altercation until a court ruling was made. 

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