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FOUL BALL

When the Brophy Broncos ripped out five runs in the first inning of a recent regional high school baseball game, their opponents and longtime rivals from St. Mary's knew they were in for a long night.

Both teams were already assured spots in the state 5A championship tournament when they met May 8; only bragging rights were on the line.

But Brophy pounded St. Mary's, 16-5, and the bragging turned into racial taunts.

People who were at the game say players from Brophy, a predominantly white prep school, hurled racial insults at Hispanic and black players from St. Mary's, an inner-city school. My son told me he had been called everything-a dirty Mexican, an f-word Mexican," one parent says. ÔIt was just totally unbelievable."

At game's end, there were no handshakes. St. Mary's coach Tommy Nuez decided to get his team off the field quickly, forgoing the traditional show of sportsmanship between opposing players.

Exactly what happened during the game is difficult to say, because officials from both Catholic schools are trying to keep word of the ugly incident from leaking to the outside world. Officials have instructed players not to talk about what happened.

Brophy coach Tom Succow says he did not hear his players shouting racial taunts. I would describe it as kind of typical ragging that's in accordance with baseball, I suppose," Succow says. I admonished my team during the game and after the game for doing some of that."

The Brophy coach says he did call Nuez the next day and apologized because he didn't think his players' behavior Ôwas exemplary of a team that I would coach."

Succow's characterization evoked disbelief from another St. Mary's parent. They treated us shitty," the parent says. If our team had acted like that, we would have been thrown out."

The St. Mary's parents did not want to be quoted by name because they said officials were trying to keep the incident quiet. St. Mary's athletic director Jim Sanford says the Brophy players' behavior was basically adding insult to injury."

I know there were some things said. I don't know exactly what," says Sanford. He would not discuss the game in detail, saying he would rather not add to or increase the problem."

Sanford says his coach's decision to hustle his players off the field after the game Ôwas to keep from having any further complications."

Brophy athletic director John Chambers refused to respond to questions about the incident, saying to a reporter, Just drop it." Both teams proceeded into the state tournament last week and lost their opening games, ending their seasons.

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David Pasztor