Charity Softball Game Ends In A Brawl

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Community Development Building Official Ray LaHaye and Mesa resident James Ketterling were charged with disorderly conduct after the two got into a fight during a charity softball tournament over Labor Day weekend.

"Ketterling and LaHaye were playing on opposing teams in a softball tournament and there was some disagreement over another person who was ejected from the game and how to substitute for that person," Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said. "I believe it escalated to a point where it was a physical fight."

Ketterling plays twice a year in the tournament that raises money for the high school baseball team with members of his team in Mesa.

"It's a family thing," Ketterling said, who also brought his wife and three sons to watch him play.

According to Ketterling, his shortstop was ejected from the game for using foul language toward the umpire. He said the Payson team objected to them playing one player short. Ketterling asked an elderly man to join the team and said LaHaye objected.

"I yelled at him and he came over and got in my face and said, ‘Don't you yell at me'", Ketterling said. "I put my arm out to stop him and he swung at me. I ducked and he missed me and then I tackled him."

According to Ketterling's wife, Juanita, a bunch of players from both teams joined in, and it became what she described as a brawl.

By the time police arrived, the players had been pulled apart and LaHaye had left the scene.

Ketterling was handcuffed and taken to jail. He said he expected to see LaHaye there, too.

"I'm just curious why I was taken to jail and he wasn't," Ketterling said.

"Officers arrived and (Ketterling) was still at the scene and was identified as someone who was involved, so they went ahead and effected that arrest," Engler said. "As they continued their investigation, they determined that LaHaye was also involved and had left the ballpark. They went to the residence and contacted him there."

LaHaye was not taken to jail, but was cited for disorderly conduct and given a court date.

"(LaHaye) was out of the situation and wasn't going to continue with it," Engler said. "And the officers believed him to be a reputable person who would appear for the court date that was provided him."

Ketterling was released in lieu of a $408 bond. LaHaye had his initial court appearance Sept. 5 and is due to be arraigned on Sept. 25.

LaHaye was unavailable for comment by press time.

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