Many Ottawa locals take advantage of the abundance of softball leagues for a chance to get their sports & social fix all summer long!
As a softball player myself (in the Ottawa Sport and Social Club league), I was shocked to learn that one of the leagues in Ottawa was being sued for a whopping $1,000,000!
Sharlene Bagshaw has put forward that Robert Lambert and the Barrhaven Mixed Slo-Pitch League has “carelessly and recklessly placed a greater importance on scoring a run in a recreational game than he did on the plaintiff’s safety and health.” (Ottawa Citzen).
Sharlene (standing on home plate) was knocked to the ground by Robert, hitting her back, and head twice.
Sharlene claims that her injuries (dizziness, concussion, headaches, back injury etc) have left her unable to return to work. Thus, she is suing both Robert & the softball league for damages.
The allegations she has made (that have yet to be proven in court) are:
- “He engaged in violent reckless conduct against a woman;
- He engaged in an aggressive manner inappropriate for co-ed slo-pitch;
- He knew or ought to have known that contact was prohibited;
- And he had no control over himself and was impaired by the use of drugs and/or alcohol.”
Many players in some of these leagues are new to softball, and I know for our league (OSSC) in Kanata, we do not have an ump to enforce one set of rules. We’ll often have different opinions from other teams on whether tagging is allowed or not, and how many runs are the cap. Everyone on our team and the teams we’ve played seems to be aware at this point that running across home plate is not required. You simply have to pass home along the side of the plate (on the safety line). On our first game, some players were unclear of this rule.
While players may be unclear of some of the rules of softball, the Barrhaven league clearly states the rules on their website:
“Players who are too competitive will be encouraged to find a more suitable league in which to demonstrate their skills.” (BMSPL).
“In the BMSPL, the base runner should never touch home plate and doing so is an automatic out. This rule is in place to ensure the safety of both the base runner and the catcher. To be considered safe at home, base runners need to run across the safety line, which is a line traced from the edge of home plate to the adjacent fence. The home team captain is responsible for tracing the safety line at the start of each game, and the catcher should refresh the line as required throughout the game.” (BMSPL).
The slo pitch league has confirmed that they will defend themselves in court. Robert has not filed anything at this point in time.