Incident between Oxford and New Hope baseball teams takes place after Saturday’s Game 2

Published 7:41 pm Monday, May 15, 2017

An incident that involved the Oxford High and New Hope High baseball teams after Saturday’s Game 2 in New Hope that involved a sign has caused some changes to be made in the Oxford program on the eve of them defending their Class 5A state championship against Pearl River Central.

The Oxford High School Facebook page put out a statement saying, ‘An incident occurred after the Oxford/New Hope baseball game involving Oxford High School players and coaches. The Oxford High School administration is aware of the situation and is investigating the matter.’

The bus carrying the Oxford baseball team stopped just outside of the New Hope High School campus, after Oxford won Game 2 11-5 for their third straight 5A North Half title, where they were going to take a photo by a sign that reads ‘Trojan Country’. Some players from the New Hope baseball team followed the bus and surrounded the bus, blocking them in according to sources close to the situation.

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Once tempers died down the bus pulled away, rolling over a curb as to not hit the New Hope players who had blocked the bus from leaving. Hours later, parents from New Hope wrote on Oxford’s Facebook page making claims of ‘the entire Oxford team and coaches were caught vandalizing our Trojan Country sign’.

Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey spoke with the EAGLE saying that ‘short term actions have been taken and long term actions will be taken.’ Harvey would not elaborate on what those actions were or if they were related to personnel within the baseball team but added some actions would be ‘evident.’

Per a source, all coaches besides head coach Chris Baughman, who did not ride back on the bus, are suspended four days and will miss Games 1 and 2 of the state championship series. One change in the coaching staff the EAGLE has learned is that Oxford head coach Chris Cutcliffe will be helping coach the baseball team in Pearl along with Oxford High School principal and former baseball head coach Bradley Roberson who will help assist Baughman. The reason for the suspension was  the coaches did not use proper judgement, per the source and noted more punishments could come early next season.

There has been no evidence to support New Hope’s claims of damage to the sign provided up to this point.

Game 1 between Oxford and Pearl River Central is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Trustmark Park in Pearl.