Dodgeball game leads to criminal charges

UC Irvine students play dodgeball in an attempt to set the Guinness world record for the largest dodgeball game in Irvine, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (Jae C. Hong | AP file)

Dodgeball is the sort of sport that can leave the typical scars that high school has a way of leaving.

In Wisconsin it can also lead to a criminal record.

The Pioneer Press reports that Jacob Sigler, 18, of Maiden Rock, Wisc., has been charged with battery after the victim and his parents reported he was slugged in the face by Sigler during the October game at Ellsworth High School.

The account of the incident might even sound familiar to anybody who played dodgeball and ran out of weaponry.

Sigler retrieved a couple of balls and threw them at the victim, the boy said, but “when Jacob ran out of balls, Jacob closed his fist and punched (the victim) in the face.” He said he was knocked to the ground by the punch. One of the other boys confronted Sigler after the punch, the victim said.

The two students hadn’t been at odds in the past, the victim said, and they didn’t exchange words with each other when they went to the principal’s office afterward.

Police interviewed Sigler after talking with the victim and his mother. He said the preceding dodgeball volleys were “a friendly fight, just a competitive game of dodgeball.” He said he was struck from about 2 or 3 feet away in the face when he wasn’t looking by a ball thrown by the victim, which he thought was excessive.

From there, the ball-tossing got “really heated,” the complaint states, as the two students closed in on each other. Sigler said he thought the other boy was about to tackle him.

“Then, I punched him,” Sigler told police.

The victim suffered a facial fracture.

Sigler’s first court appearance in Feb. 3.