Baseball is a passionate game and tempers sometimes get the best of players. That was the case on Wednesday night in New Hampshire.
Eight players and Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham were ejected following a benches-clearing incident in the seventh inning before New Hampshire rallied for a 6-5 victory over visiting Altoona.
Things began to get heated when Altoona's Stetson Allie, who homered in his previous at-bat, was hit by a pitch by Daniel Norris with two outs and a runner on second base in the sixth. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Andy Burns -- who slugged a two-run homer in the fourth, -- was hit by Andy Dodson's first pitch. That prompted a warning to both teams.
After New Hampshire reliever Arik Sikula plunked Jarek Cunningham with the second pitch of the seventh inning, Cunningham charged the mound. Both benches emptied and it took some 20 minutes to restore order.
When the dust settled, Cunningham and teammates Gift Ngoepe and Keon Broxton were ejected. Tossed for the Fisher Cats were Sikula, Meacham, K.C. Hobson, Dustin Antolin, Mike McDade and Yusuf Carter.
The incident overshadowed the Eastern League debut of Norris, the Blue Jays' No. 4 prospect, who allowed four runs on four hits while striking out nine over 5 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old left-hander was promoted after going 6-0 with a Florida State League-leading 1.22 ERA in 13 starts for Dunedin.
Jon Berti helped New Hampshire rally, singling home a pair of runs in the eighth and scoring on Kevin Nolan's bases-loaded walk.
Scott Gracey (2-2), who took over for Sikula, tossed two perfect innings to get the win. Gregory Infante struck out Ralph Henriquez, who replaced Ngoepe, with the tying run on third and two outs in the ninth to earn his sixth save.