The first brawl of the year during a Denver Danger-Nevada Speeders game has led to the first suspensions of the season between the two main antagonists.
The bench clearing brouhaha occurred after Speeders second baseman John Rains charged the mound after being hit by a pitch from Danger southpaw Rich “Cactus” Ojeda. Ojeda had just given up a solo homer to Jose Torres, a towering shot to center-right field that tied the game in the bottom of the 1st inning.
Though it was not clear that the hard-throwing Ojeda had meant to hit Rains, the Speeders infielder was doubtless frustrated having been held hit-less in the first three games of the Denver-Nevada series, with the Speeders dropping those games by increasing margins.
That frustration exploded after taking Ojeda’s pitch off his helmet, and he immediately rushed the 6’3″, 230 lb veteran hurler, who easily manhandled the charging batter before the benches cleared and the melee was broken up.
Both players were immediately ejected, and after the league announced the suspensions, Rains claims the incident left “no hard feelings”. Denver went on to complete the 4-game sweep of the Speeders in Reno, Nevada, winning 6-3. Oscar Navarro was credited with the win after coming in to the game to replace Ojeda. Victor Torres replaced Rains and went 1-for-3 and scored a run.
Following the game, the league announced 4-game suspensions for both players. Ojeda would miss his next start, but would still see action in the upcoming 3-game Denver-Dallas road series.