Adult behavior at Shelby County high school baseball game results in criminal charges

A family dispute on a Shelby County ballfield during a high school baseball game led to something much bigger.
Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - When the boys of summer get together to play America’s pastime, increasingly it seems the boys take a back seat to the dads, moms and coaches.

This is a story about a brush back, a force out and a walk off that had nothing to do with the student players on the field, turning into something much bigger.

No one has admitted committing an error despite criminal charges being filed.

So how did a crosstown rivals baseball game between Shelby County High School and Collins High School turn into something a player’s mother described in a letter to the school superintendent as “disgusting,” “trashy,” “pathetic,” “madness,” and left her “mortified, embarrassed and ashamed?”

“You’ve got kids playing a baseball game, but the parents and coaches and adults are flipping out?” I asked John Carroll, one of the people tossed out of the game.

“This wasn’t the first time,” Carroll said. “It’s happened all year long over at that school system.”

Carroll had one son who was a player at Collins High School and another son who was a teacher and coach at Shelby County High School.

His player son hit a grand slam.

“Next thing I know, I’ve been told I was on the field and I was jumping up and down celebrating with my son on home plate,” Carroll said. “I’m like ‘No, watch the video.’”

Next thing you know his son, Jonathan Carroll, the teacher and coach at Shelby County High, was going after him.

Photos were taken by Sentinel-News sports editor Derek Brightwell of the incident.

“Your own son charged you?” I asked.

“Yes he did,” Carroll said. “Very disheartening. Very heartbreaking. I don’t know what happened to him. I’ve never seen that part of him in my lifetime. He charges me. Umpire tries to get in his way. He shoves the home plate umpire two, three times, and the next thing I know, two deputy sheriffs go through the gate to try to corral him.”

Next thing you know, Carroll, the father, was being walked off the field by two deputies and thrown out.

And it wasn’t over.

“Jonathan’s mom, she grabs me by the back of the shirt, turns me around, sticks a finger in my face and says ‘If you had any decency, you would not cheer for one son over another,’” Carroll said.

Jonathan’s wife entered the fray.

“She threatened to kill me,” Carroll said. “Threatened to put a bullet between my eyes.”

When things like that happen, police assume the role of legal umpire. Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Captain Kyle Tipton investigated.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Tipton said. “I hate that it had to come to law enforcement getting involved. I hate what’s happened with it.”

On April 28, Jonathan was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and menacing.

Dominique Carroll, Jonathan’s wife and a teacher’s aid, was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct, menacing and terroristic threatening.

Helena Carroll, Jonathan’s mother, was charged with harassment and disorderly conduct.

We went to their homes to try to get their side of the story just as Shelby County High School made it to the state baseball tournament.

Jonathan appeared willing to do an interview, but when he checked with his attorney, he said he was told not to comment.

Attorney Bart McMahon, who represents all three, also declined an interview when reached by phone, instead issuing a statement.

“We deny the allegations and believe they will be exonerated in court,” he said. “It was an odd family dispute that spilled on to a ballfield.”

Carroll received a letter from Shelby County Public Schools superintendent Sally Sugg informing him that because of this incident and a previous one, “You will not be permitted to attend any Shelby County Public Schools athletic event for the remainder of the school year.”

“How can I be suspended?” Carroll said. “I mean I’m being attacked by my son. Threatened to be killed by my daughter-in-law and I get grabbed by my ex-wife. Why am I being punished?”

His attorney fired off an injunction attempt so Carroll could watch his son play out his senior year.

It alleged more disturbing behavior during the game, alleging a Shelby County coach told an umpire whose wife had just died “I know you just buried your wife on Monday - you can’t be this f***ing terrible.”

The court ruled Carroll could attend graduation, but the sports suspension remained intact.

“It’s been heartbreaking,” Carroll said. “He has pitched and I’ve missed the best baseball of his high school career. He had 32 innings of shutout baseball and I’ve missed that. I will never get that back ever.”

If you thought adult behavior would eventually prevail in this story, you’re wrong. In the middle of this interview, someone came up yelling and interrupting us.

“You’re being heckled by a dude right now,” I said to Carroll. “You’re hated that bad that this guy comes out in Louisville and heckles you?”

“Yeah that’s how it’s been,” Carroll said.

The heckling continued all the way to the end, turning on me.

“John Boel, get the truth, he’s lying,” the man yelled, interrupting the interview again.

Unfortunately I wasn’t an umpire. I couldn’t toss the heckler out of the ballpark.

Our attempt to get someone from the Shelby County Public Schools system to comment on the story resulted in a statement: “Our attorney advised us we are unable to comment on pending litigation.”

WAVE News also reached out to the KHSAA for comment and are awaiting a response.

Shelby County High School plays in the state baseball semifinals on Friday.