BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — What was supposed to be a great day at the ballpark for Cody Gabella and his father has wound up costing the youngster his junior season.
Gabella, a junior infielder at Notre Dame High in Burlington, has been suspended for the upcoming prep season after making two plate appearances with the Class A Burlington Bees — who are managed by his father, Jim Gabella — in an exhibition against a local community college.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association ruled that Cody Gabella violated a rule that prohibits prep athletes from playing with or against collegians in their own sport.
The Bees, a Kansas City Royals affiliate from the Midwest League, played an exhibition game against Southeastern Community College on Tuesday. Jim Gabella said he cleared it with Southeastern’s coach and the Royals to allow Cody an at-bat late in the game if possible.
Jim Gabella told The Associated Press on Saturday that he had no idea the rule was on the books and would have never jeopardized his son’s eligibility if he did.
Jim Gabella said an appeal is in the works, and he’s hoping that the high school association will factor in his lack of knowledge of the rule.
“He wants to play at the next level, and it was an idea of having him play against a junior college who is recruiting him and have a chance to see him play myself,” Jim Gabella said of Cody. “It didn’t work out the way we planned.”
It wasn’t all bad for Cody Gabella, though. He ripped a single up the middle and finished 1-for-2.