Axmen scheduled to be back on the baseball field Thursday

BRISTOL — The Kingsport Axmen will be back on the baseball field Thursday, weather permitting.

Bristol State Liners General Manager Mahlon Luttrell said Wednesday that the Appalachian League game of Kingsport at Bristol will be played Thursday as scheduled.

Luttrell said discussions were in progress about enhanced security at Boyce Cox Field in Bristol during the game.

Questions about the game’s status and security came about after a former Kingsport player was arrested earlier this week after allegedly threatening to kill several individuals at an Axmen game.

SCARY START TO THE WEEK

The Axmen postponed home games Monday and Tuesday after Matt Taylor was dismissed from the team and then later arrested for making threats “to kill multiple people” at Monday’s Axmen game against Greeneville, according to information provided by the Kingsport Police Department.

Taylor, a 2018 Dobyns-Bennett graduate who pitched in four games for NCAA DI Kansas in the spring, was charged Monday with “false reporting (Class C felony) and harassment,” according to the police report. He was released Monday after posting a $25,000 bond.

Taylor’s dismissal from the team is an issue no one is willing to talk much about.

“No comment,” Axmen General Manager Steve Brice said when asked Wednesday what led to Taylor’s dismissal from the team.

Brice and Boyd Sports, which manages operations for the Kingsport team, released a joint statement Tuesday saying an Axmen player was released from the team because “conduct of concern and violation of team rules.”

Beyond that, Brice said Wednesday, all player personnel questions would have to be answered by USA Baseball, the organization responsible for assigning players to each Appy League team.

Neither USA Baseball nor Appalachian League officials responded Wednesday to several requests for comments.

WHAT ABOUT THE PLAYERS?

Brice also declined to comment about players leaving the team because of the alleged threats made by Taylor.

Brice said that he was responsible for the “business part” of the Axmen and did not deal directly with player personnel and was not aware of which players, if any, left the team since Monday.

One player did leave the team Tuesday.

Malik Binns, a sophomore from Benedictine Mesa (Arizona), confirmed Wednesday that he is no longer a member of the Axmen.

Binns did not say, however, why he left the Kingsport club.

He was the 18th-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday in the Major League Baseball draft.

WHEN THE AXMEN PLAY AT HOME

After a scheduled two-game road trip Thursday and Friday at Bristol, Kingsport is slated to return home to Hunter Wright Stadium for games against Elizabethton on Saturday and Sunday.

After an off day on Monday, the Axmen are scheduled to host Burlington Tuesday and Wednesday.

Brice said all home games will be played and that added security will be present for the players and fans at the park.

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