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A bitter feud between Cardinal Spellman and CHSAA baseball Commissioner Wally Stampfel has reverberated throughout the league and has directly contributed to postponing two playoff games initially scheduled for Sunday.
Cardinal Spellman baseball Coach Lou Brescia has been suspended two games, including his team’s first playoff contest, for an on-field altercation with Stampfel over a batting order dispute, also the Mount St. Michael coach — an incident that escalated a day later at the CHSAA Archdiocese coaches meeting, sources said.
Feeling that the penalty given to Brescia by the league executive committee was not harsh enough, Mount athletic director Mario Valentini pulled his field as the host site for May 13’s CHSAA Class AA first-round elimination games, according to sources.
Sources told the New York Post that the bad blood between the Spellman coaching staff and Stampfel started last week in a disagreement about when a rained-out game with All Hallows would be rescheduled. It intensified May 14 during a league game between Spellman and Mount, multiple sources said.
Brescia accused Mount of batting out of order, sources said, but because the accused batter did not complete his plate appearance there was no violation, by rule. In a conversation with Brescia and the home plate umpire, Stampfel wise-cracked to Brescia, winking and sucking his teeth, according to sources, and the Spellman coach went off.
Brescia, incensed by the show of disrespect, told Stampfel, “I will bury you” and cursed at the commissioner-coach. The umpire got between the two and Brescia made contact with the ump. Stampfel ended up falling to the ground during the tussle.
Brescia was then ejected from the game and suspended the next two contests, the first being Friday’s game against Fordham Prep, which finished up after 14 innings Saturday, a Spellman victory. The Pilots will likely compete in a second-round playoff elimination game.
Brescia declined comment directly on the incident.
“It’s over and done with,” he said. “I try to avoid talking about it. I don’t want to be the center point to this. It’s about the kids.”
Things didn’t end there, though.
On May 15, at a league coaches meeting at Mount St. Michael, Spellman assistant Coach Donald Van Bommel and Stampfel got into heated arguments on two separate occasions, with Van Bommel angry that Stampfel was not ejected from the game against Spellman.
In the final exchange, near the end of the meeting, Stampfel, according to sources, told Van Bommel never to “f------ talk to me again.” The Spellman assistant got in the commissioner’s face, but sources said there was no physical contact made as coaches broke up the potential fracas.
Van Bommel, who could not be reached for comment, has also been suspended for an undetermined amount of time, sources said. Sources said he has a history of being ejected from games.
Stampfel, who has been commissioner for 15 years, declined to comment on the situation except to say he wasn’t sure when the first-round games would be played.
He referred all questions about the field to Valentini, who did not return a voicemail message left by the Post.
Meanwhile, league coaches are angry that the playoffs will be pushed back another day. Monsignor McClancy was slated to meet Regis and Monsignor Farrell and Salesian were supposed to face off at Mount.
“We’re extremely upset that we’re not playing,” McClancy Coach Nick Melito said. “There’s uncertainty about when we’re gonna be playing and now these games are going to be bunched all up. It’s not fair to any of the teams.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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