02
Jun
10

High School pitcher shows some class while his coach doesn’t…read all about the “magic bean ball”…

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6 Responses to “High School pitcher shows some class while his coach doesn’t…read all about the “magic bean ball”…”


  1. June 2, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Allegany-Limestone head varsity baseball coach Paul Furlong has been suspended indefinitely and could find out his permanent fate today after ordering one of his pitchers to throw at a Wellsville player.
    Furlong, who also coaches varsity football at Allegany-Limestone, allegedly asked his starting pitcher, James Whitney, to purposely hit Wellsville’s Sawyer Korb with a pitch.
    Whitney did not and with a 1-2 count on Korb, threw the ball down on the mound and sprinted into the dugout. A relief pitcher threw the final pitch of the at bat to strike Korb out.
    Furlong declined to comment about the incident. He is also suspended as the varsity football coach at the Cattaraugus County school.
    “I really can’t (comment) because of the legal side of it,” said Furlong when reached by phone Wednesday night at his home. “I can’t say anything more.”
    Furlong did say he is scheduled to meet with Allegany-Limestone Superintendent Diane Munro today.
    “There will probably be some further decisions rendered (today),” Furlong said.
    Wellsville coach Dennis Miles said “out of respect for Paul, anything else should come from him as the coach.”
    The incident in question took place on May 12 during Allegany-Limestone’s 20-9 loss to Wellsville at St. Bonaventure University’s McGraw-Jennings Field, a game the Daily Reporter covered. Allegany-Limestone was the home team and Wellsville was the away team and hit first. The visiting Lions scored six runs in the top of the first.
    In the bottom of the first, Korb came out of the dugout toward the mound, but asked his catcher, Brendan Anderson, to stand up and receive a couple warm up throws to the side of the hill.
    “When Brendan got out there, I asked him to stand up and toss for two or three throws,” said Korb. “He (Furlong) looked at me angry and said, ‘You don’t have to warm up anymore, you had enough time before the game.’ I said, ‘Yeah, well we hit for a half-hour.’ Then coach Miles told me to be quiet, not talk to the other coach, and get on the mound and just pitch.”
    Korb added, “The umpire never said I was doing something wrong throwing two pitches off to the side.”
    Korb walked his first at bat in the first inning, then things got strange his second at bat. With one ball, Whitney threw a strike and words appeared to be exchanged between Whitney and Furlong. The third pitch was a fast ball for a strike and Korb took a big swing and missed. Furlong could be heard saying, “Ok, that’s it.” Whitney slammed the ball down and sprinted off the mound to the dugout. Furlong reached for the ball as Whitney raced by, but the ball was on the hill. Another player went in the game and Whitney, who was 1-for-1 hitting on the day, was done. His mother walked behind the dugout on a hill and yelled twice, “You did the right thing!” to her son.
    “I happened to be sitting near the Allegany-Limestone crowd and James’ mother was crying and told the spectators her son was told to throw at Sawyer’s head,” said Wendy Korb, Sawyer Korb’s mother. “I am upset he (Furlong) ordered a child to do that in a high school baseball game, but what am I to do? I did not know about about the incident until after it happened, I was not aware of a plan to hit my son in the head.”
    Wendy Korb said her son has suffered four concussions in his high school career playing different sports.
    “Had he been hit in the head or side of the head, who knows what could have happened to him? But it didn’t happen. I am so proud of No. 7, James, for putting an end to it — Sawyer could have been brain dead with an intentional hit to the head. I understand accidents happen, but that was an intentional order to hit someone in the head because a coach wanted to put my boy out of the game.”
    Wendy Korb added, “His mother said she was so proud of him for dropping the ball on the field and walking off. Was I proud of him? Absolutely! This boy, James Whitney, refused to throw the ball and he deserves all the credit, kudos, and honors. His mother was crying her eyes out and she was so proud of her son and ashamed of his coach.
    “This is not about moms and dads and coaches, it’s about two boys who just wanted to play baseball. He was told to hit Sawyer in the head,” Wendy Korb continued. “But he dropped the ball and ran off the mound. He is a hero. He is a dedicated ball player.”
    During Korb’s third at bat, he singled to right field. He said word was circulating around the stands that he was getting thrown at.
    “I told coach Miles what I heard and he said don’t worry about it, he would take care of it,” said Sawyer Korb. “It was tough to hit after that. I was ready to get thrown at and it definitely made it harder to hit.”
    Furlong, in his second year as a physical education teacher at Allegany-Limestone and first as varsity baseball coach, also spent 13 years at Genesee Valley where he coached both girls’ basketball and baseball. As the baseball coach, Furlong won Section V titles in 2003 and 2007.
    While at Class DD Genesee Valley in Allegany County, two of Furlong’s former pitchers said they were ordered to throw at batters.
    One went on the record, but also defending Furlong saying his actions were part of the game.
    “We were never told to hit someone in the head, but if someone showed us up, we were told to hit them, but never in the head,” said Erich Zlomek, a 2004 Genesee Valley Central School graduate. “That is part of the game. He is one of my favorite coaches ever, in any sport I ever played … he stuck up for his guys. We won a ton of games with him. He knew what he was doing.”
    Zlomek did not pitch in college, rather played the outfield. He played junior college baseball at Alfred State College, then Division I at Oneonta State and the University at Buffalo where a quadriceps injury ended his career.
    “I got thrown at a few times, as a team, we always got thrown at,” said Zlomek. “One of my college teammates got thrown at all the time because he was our best player and always hot-dogging and showing off.
    “I can’t believe he would get fired for that, it’s crazy,” Zlomek continued. “I can’t believe they would take away his football job, too, and his teaching job.”
    One report alleged Whitney was told to throw at Korb because Wellsville had a big lead in the second inning and tried to bunt.
    Miles, who has won 577 games in his career and 10 Section V baseball titles, said he did not recall that happening and defended his style of coaching.
    “We attempted one bunt in the first inning, and it wasn’t Sawyer,” said Miles. “So throwing at Sawyer would make no sense. Anyone who has coached high school baseball knows an eight- to 10-run lead is not safe early in the game. It’s not college or pro baseball where you have a surplus of pitchers available. Many times you only have one pitcher. I remember a game against Hornell two years ago, we were up 9-0 early and won 10-9.”
    Korb, a senior, struck out 11 and walked six in the win over Allegany-Limestone. He has been clocked at 91 miles per hour this season, and was clocked at 88 miles per hour during the game against the Gators. He did not hit a batter in that game.
    Wellsville is currently 10-7 and has two games left in the season, Friday at Wayland-Cohocton and Saturday against Webster Christian at Frontier Field in Rochester. Wellsville has played Allegany-Limestone twice, winning both contests. Allegany-Limestone is currently 2-9. They are at Fredonia on Thursday, home on Friday against Southwestern, then host Cuba-Rushford on Saturday.

  2. 2 Anonymous
    June 3, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    Getting brushed back, knocked down, or thrown at is part of the game. Not at the Little League level, but certainly by the time kids reach Varsity High School ball it is no longer just “two boys who just wanted to play baseball.”
    However, if the player was told to intentially throw at his head, then the coach’s intent was to injure, not to re-claim the inside part of the plate or to keep the other team’s hitters on their toes.
    I think the intent is what is key – if the intent was to injure the other player, the coach should be on the unemployment line.

    • June 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM

      I have to agree with this post. If we are to take the story at face value and the “intent” is real, then there’s no place in the game–at any level–for that kind of stuff. If you want to take the bat out of somebody’s hands, you intentionally walk them. If a batter is crowding the plate, the pitcher has every right to throw to all corners–a strike is a strike. But if a pitcher intentionally throws at a batter, that’s poor form, plain and simple (especially on a 1-2 count). That’s the only thing that sounds a little off. Why go headhunting when you’ve already got the guy behind in the count.

  3. June 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    Intent is a tough thing to prove so how would you handle it if you were the school administration?

    Plus, can you really trust a HS pitcher to be accurate enough NOT to hit the kid in the head?

  4. 5 MC
    June 3, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    This just shows that this pitcher has class. What high-schooler do you know would run off the field in the middle of a game to take a moral stand? All I have to say is, “Wow.”

  5. June 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    folks

    good thoughts all around. I hope you call in and take a position for the show on Sunday. We need to make this new time slot hum and it will only happen with the involvement of passionate parents and coaches like you.

    T


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