San Francisco Chronicle

by the Associated Press

- June 14, 1997 -

Kim Braatz-Voisard held her temper in check. Even after she was hit by a pitch, the Colorado Silver Bullets outfielder stayed calm. Then the pitcher laughed at her, and she lost it - prompting an all-out brawl.

"If they were playing with guys, the same thing would have happened," said teammate Tamara Ivie. "We just didn't want to say, 'Well, we're girls ...' "

It was inevitable.

After four years of trying to show that they can play baseball just like the men, the Silver Bullets women's team showed they can brawl like them, too.

The bench-clearing melee came Wednesday night in Albany, Ga., as Colorado trailed 10-6 in the ninth inning against the Americus Travelers, the state champions in the Georgia Recreation and Parks 18-and-under league.

"Their catcher was mouthing off the whole game," Braatz-Voisard said yesterday during an interview at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport before the club left for tonight's game in Tulsa, Okla., "After the second pitch in the last inning, I turned to him and told him to be quiet and play the game.

"The very next pitch hit me. I thought it was pretty obvious what had happened," she said. "I was angry and frustrated and stepped to walk toward first base. I looked at the pitcher (Greg Dominy), and he started laughing at me. That's when I lost it."

As she headed for the mound, players from both team weren't too far behind.

Americus catcher Jonathan Crumbliss said the bad-blood started in the fifth inning after he drew a walk and words were exchanged between himself and catcher Missy Cress.

Americus manager Billy Nicholson defended his players, saying his pitcher did not intentionally throw at Braatz-Voisard.

"Greg was trying to go up and in on her, and he hit her. She took two steps toward the mound, and Greg just kind of smiled," Nicholson said.

Nicholson called it an "unfortunate situation" but said it's just something that happens in baseball.

"It's not something we wanted to do; it was something that happened," Ivie said. "If you compare it to the major leagues, when a player gets hit, it's like almost an everyday thing. It doesn't get blown out of proportion."

Braatz-Voisard and Crumbliss were ejected. Crumbliss, under GRPA rules, was suspended for his team's next two games.