SYDNEY, 29 December - Brisbane Bandit Josh Roberts has been issued an immediate suspension by the Australian Baseball League for his part in Saturday's bench clearing brawl.
The visiting left fielder received a six game suspension, the largest penalty issued in ABL history. The Ipswich native will sit out the rest of the series in Sydney, eligible to return to play in game one of round 11 against Melbourne on January 16th.
The incident occurred in the top of the fourth inning after Patrick Leonard collected Sydney catcher Danny Arribas in a clean play at home plate. Heated words were exchanged between Leonard and Arribas, however Roberts took exception and rushed the field, hitting Arribas and knocking him to the ground.
Both sides erupted and after 90 seconds of pushing and shoving in front of home plate, staff from both sides and match officials separated the two teams.
After a short conference, umpires addressed both managers and ejected Roberts, who didn't go quietly, exiting the diamond after a verbal outburst directed at Sydney's dugout.
The game continued without further incident, Roberts replaced by Connor O'Gorman who moved from second base to rightfield, his gap filled by Brad Dutton.
Like any ABL suspension, Roberts and the Bandits have the opportunity to appeal the sentence with the league, however it is unlikely he will play again this round.
The dramatic game two raises the stakes for the remainder of the round in Sydney, with game three scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. start tonight and the series finale at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.
Tickets to all Sydney Blue Sox games at Blacktown International Sportspark are available at the box office from $10 or online at sydneybluesox.com.au/tickets