Former McPherson Pipeliners coach and owner Caleb Hartman released an apology late Friday evening for statements he made following the news of his ouster and said that an agreement has been reached by all parties in a bitter dispute over the young baseball franchise.
Hartman said that he, new owner Chad Pinson and officials with Kansas Collegiate League Baseball had a "meeting of the minds," Friday morning and came to a "productive solution." No further details regarding any possible settlement were available at press time.
KCLB officials, Thursday, defended the decision to have assistant coach Chad Pinson take over the McPherson Pipeliner's after an email to sponsors announcing the move spurred Hartman to post angry accusations of fraud and theft on the team's Facebook page.
League Commissioner Sheldon Howell spoke out in Pinson's defense Thursday and stressed the league's decision was unanimous with full support from the National Baseball Congress, umpires and others affiliated with the team. He said he also wanted to assure the McPherson community that the Pipeliners are not leaving the city.
"This is the best move for the league and everybody involved," he said.
Coaching colleagues Hartman and Pinson formed the Pipeliners out of the dissolved Wichita Marlins franchise and moved the team to McPherson this past year.
A former star player for Moundridge High and McPherson College, Hartman took over the role of head coach and recruited a roster of about 36 players for the team's first season. He was assisted by Pinson, who was placed in charge of fundraising and sponsorships.
A three-year agreement with the KCBL and the NBC was inked and the Pipeliners found a home at Light Capital Stadium, 551 S. Fisher St., in McPherson, after a deal was reached with Central Christian College.
Hartman and Pinson both said in released statements Thursday they began to have disputes over the direction of the team this past summer.
Caleb Hartman's full statement is as follows:
I, Caleb Hartman wanted to take this time to address a few things regarding the McPherson Pipeliners. I had a meeting of the minds with the KCLB and Mr. Pinson this morning about what we can do to move forward peacefully and civilly with a collegiate team in our community.
Ultimately, we came to a productive solution that benefits all parties involved.
Furthermore, I would like to apologize publicly for my actions and statements I made against the parties involved, as I was wrong to make public statements on misinformation following the news being released.
I would also like to say "thank-you" to my family and friends for reaching out to me with your continued support over the last few days as this whole thing unfolded. It was my goal to bring a summer team to McPherson, which I accomplished. Even though I am not a part of it anymore, I will still continue to wish the KCLB success in McPherson for the future.