BRADENTON--The fallout from Friday night's bench-clearing melee between the State College of Florida Manatees and Hillsborough Community College Hawks became clearer on Monday after the Manatees scheduled game against South Florida State College was canceled.
SCF athletic director Matt Ennis said that the NJCAA, the national governing body of junior college sports, has a rule that states all players that leave the bench must endure a two-game suspension.
The Suncoast Conference baseball opponents were set to play Saturday, but the Florida College System Activities Association ordered both teams to forfeit the game.
"From what I understand, this is final," Ennis said. "We've had a great deal of communication with the commissioners, and from my understanding at the time, this is final and we move forward."
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Friday's altercation occurred right after SCF redshirt freshman Sean Trent armed the Manatees with a 9-5 lead following a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
HCC starting pitcher Matt Wynne hit Connor Oliver, and tensions flared as Oliver was pushed in the back.
Wynne joined starting catcher Tyler Sanchez and assistant coach Kevin Clark as the ejected players for HCC.
Clark is an SCF alumnus, having departed in 2006 to join the Colorado Rockies organization.
The Manatees lost Orlando River, the club's leadoff hitter and starting second baseman, and starting catcher Andrew Widell for the remainder of that game, which SCF won 9-8.
Ennis said the ejected players are suspended for four games.
And since the suspension is retroactive to Saturday's canceled conference clash with HCC, the ejected players for the Manatees have already served half of that suspension.
Monday's canceled game is also a forfeit for SCF (9-3 in conference play).
"We not only have good players, but our guys are terrific kids," SCF head coach Tim Hill II said. "The rule is the rule. It's not like we were out there throwing punches or wrestling people to the ground and all that. People left the bench when they shouldn't of. A little bit of yelling and finger pointing. That was basically it. The rule is you can't leave the bench, so we have to accept the penalties for breaking that rule and move forward from there."
However, the suspension for Wynne could be lengthier.
According to the FCSAA's Council for Athletic Affairs, Wynne's availability to pitch would serve over nine games.
The two forfeits for SCF, though, is all the team is expected to endure.
Ennis said the club is back on as normal for the remainder of the season starting Wednesday against South Florida, which is the second of a three-game set between the two programs.
That also means Friday's exhibition against the Baltimore Orioles, who advanced to Major League Baseball's playoffs last fall, is still on as scheduled.
"As of Wednesday, we're moving on as scheduled," Ennis said. "That's the next game against South Florida at their place and we move forward in pursuing a Suncoast Conference championship."