Grandview cuts Conchs' season short
BY PAUL DEHNER JR.
KEY WEST — The food was cooking, the teams were in the dugouts and the fans were rolling into Rex Weech Field Saturday night, but the Key West High School baseball team's regular season came to a premature end.
Grandview Prep canceled the second game of the series, final game of the regular season and Senior Night for Key West just 30 minutes before the scheduled game time due to an incident which occurred early Saturday morning at the Key West High bunk room.
After losing to the Conchs 11-1 Friday night, the Pride, which only dress 10 players, were staying in the high school bunk room when police were called. A police report was not made available by press time, but according to sources, police were called to investigate alleged illegal activity at the bunk room.
All gameday activities continued to go on Saturday and the game was to believed to still be played, but as administrators at Grandview were contacted about the situation, they made the decision to not allow those players involved to play in the game, forcing the forfeit.
"We had to take disciplinary actions on the select students involved," Grandview Prep principal Jackie Westerfield said. "We are truly sorry this had to happen, but we had to do the right thing. It is an unfortunate thing to have happen, but we can't bend the rules."
The team, instead, honored its eight seniors and played an intrasquad scrimmage. But the cancellation left the Conchs without an opponent and the school out of the revenue a Saturday night home finale would create. Assistant coach and assistant principal Chris Valdez said the amount of restitution desired would be $2,500.
"We will make restitution for costs resulting from the cancellation that are reasonable and fair," Westerfield said.
What can't be replaced is the memories lost on what was supposed to be a special night for Key West seniors. Chas Spottswood was set to start the game for the final time at the Rex. Now, his only chance to take the home hill will be if the Conchs win the district tournament this week and earn two home regional games.
"I was pretty mad," Spottswood said. "It was my last regular season home game. I was really looking forward to it, but we are going to have another home game. I will be pitching here again."
Key West coach Ralph Henriquez hopes that will also be the case, but couldn't hide his disappointment with the situation.
"It is very disappointing that kids behaved in that fashion and that there is no excuse for what happened," he said. "Our kids have to pay the consequences, they were excited about senior night. It is just a totally unacceptable situation."
The situation caused the third Conch game cancellation this year because of off-the-field the issues. A rematch of an early-season loss to Miami Southridge, which involved altercations between the squads, wasn't played because of a fear for players' safety. Also, the third game in the team's trip to Atlanta was also canceled due to a dispute between the president of the East Cobb Baseball Complex in Marietta, Ga. and a Key West parent.
Key West's next game will be Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Archbishop Carroll in the district semifinal against the winner of Coral Shores and Ransom Everglades. The winner will qualify for the state tournament.