Coach Accused of Punching Umpire

Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — An assistant baseball coach for a youth team has been accused of breaking an umpire's jaw with a punch last month during an argument between innings.

Orlando Lago, a 36-year-old assistant baseball coach with the Hollywood Police Athletic League, was to surrender Wednesday and face aggravated battery charges, his lawyer said.

``He deeply regrets being involved in the incident,'' lawyer Steve Burk said. ``But that isn't to say that he provoked it. It's not the image or example that he's tried to set for his players as a volunteer for 10 years.''

Base umpire Tom Dziedzinski's jaw had to be wired shut after he was hit during the June 19 game at South Broward High School between Hollywood and Flanagan Connie Mack PAL teams. The teams feature top high school juniors and seniors.

Dziedzinski declined to comment on the specifics because of pending litigation.

Players said Lago threw the only punch after arguing a call at third base. Hollywood's Danny Rovetto said Lago saw Dziedzinski draw his hand back to signal that he was ejecting him, but thought there was a punch coming, and he reacted.

``There are two sides to every story, and harsh words were going both ways,'' Burk said. ``I don't believe that Orlando did anything to initially provoke the incident.''