Johnny Zuniga finally had his day in court.
You remember Johnny. He’s the one who didn’t like a call a soccer referee made during an Augusta Amateur Soccer League match in July and decided to kick the man and then choke him.
After the incident, he was banned from the AASL and Columbia County leagues.
Tuesday, Zuniga, who was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery against a sports official, pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to a year of probation and a $500 fine under the First Offender Act. He was also banned from Columbia County parks during his probation.
Come on now.
Zuniga could have received up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. I don’t necessarily think he needed to spend a year in jail, but the sentence seems like a mere slap on the wrist, which is a whole lot less than what he did. I’m glad that we won’t have to see him at any of our parks, but he’s from Beech Island, so how much does that really sting? His presence in the county must have been deemed so offensive that he wasn’t given any community service to perform.
Had the referee been injured more severely, Zuniga might have been charged with a felony, which likely would have brought a stiffer penalty. So I guess it’s the fault of the people who pulled Zuniga away and took the referee to the hospital who kept him from a harsher punishment.
I guess we’ll have to rely on the Court of Karma in the long run.
Long before the calendar says it’s spring, our teams are out on the fields and courts getting ready for their respective seasons. As of last week, all of the Georgia High School Association teams were practicing, with the exception of golf, which is allowed to start on Monday, Feb. 18.
More than a few storylines will have to be followed. Will a school or schools in the county be able to touch Greenbrier High School’s success from a year ago? Their boys soccer and baseball teams made state title appearances, the girls soccer team reached the state’s Elite Eight and the girls tennis team reached the state’s Final Four for the fourth consecutive year. Senior Brandon Coombs took first in the state 800-meter run.
Greenbrier graduated five of its tennis players and Lakeside might be ready to step up and take the region title and more. That would be in addition to the Lady Panthers defending their 2012 state golf championship. Like the Wolfpack, the Panthers also lost a state champion in senior Sid Vaughn, who won the 3,200-meter run.
The Augusta Prep girls soccer team also made a Georgia Independent Schools Association championship game showing last year, but in the fall lost Jamie Alexander to Furman University. How the team steps up and replaces such a large part of its squad will go a long way in determining its success this season.
Play gets under way soon, so we’ll see how the season shapes up.