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Friday, April 21, 2017

Three Auburn Players Arrested for Drug Possession; End of Tigers' Postseason Hopes?

Three Auburn softball players - starting pitcher McKayla Martin, shortstop Haley Fagan, and reserve outfielder Brittany Maresette - were arrested on charges of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

L-R, Fagan, Martin, and Maresette in their Auburn headshots
The trio were each charged with Possession of Marijuana, Second Degree and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. No description was put on the latter charge as to what paraphernalia the trio may have been in possession of, but the second-degree classification on the initial charge defines the marijuana as being for personal use and classifies the charge as a misdemeanor.

According to the arrest report, all three players were under the influence of drugs at the time of their arrest and were held immediately following their arrests.

The players were suspended indefinitely by the Auburn softball team and did not travel with the team to South Carolina, where they are set to play a three-game conference series, beginning Friday night.

The Tigers have a total of ten games left on their regular-season slate, including the series against South Carolina. Mississippi State travels to Auburn for a conference series next weekend, while the Tigers will finish the year in a series against Alabama at Tuscaloosa. They also have a single non-conference game remaining, Alabama State on April 26th.

Ranked #2 in the latest RPI release, the Tigers are a solid bet to host both a regional and super regional, barring a collapse at the end of the regular season and in the conference tournament.

Fagan has been the Tigers' starting shortstop this season after returning from an injury-abbreviated 2016 campaign. At the time of her arrest, she was hitting .323 on the year with six home runs and twenty-nine RBI. Martin, a sophomore, was 16-5 on the season at the time of her arrest with a 2.05 season ERA in more than 119 innings of work. Maresette, a freshman, has been utilized in primarily a reserve pinch-running role.

The incident is the latest in a string of off-the-field happenings that have affected the Auburn program this season. Haley Fagan was involved in another national headline-maker after a shoving incident with Florida head coach Tim Walton earlier this year, while assistant coach Corey Myers left the program shortly after that incident under a cloud of morality questions of his own. 

Having reached the Women's College World Series championship series last year, taking their season to the very last game possible, the Tigers were thought to be solid championship contenders this year. The string of off-the-field incidents have cast a dark cloud over Jane B. Moore Field, however, leaving the softball Tigers in something of a state of disarray close to the end of the season and the postseason's dawn.

No word has been released as to the length of the trio of players' suspensions or when - or if - they will return to the field for the Tigers. Though Martin and Maresette are both underclassmen, Fagan is a redshirt senior and in her final season.

Despite an admittedly-changing national climate towards marijuana use, the drug remains illegal for recreational use in many states and the state of Alabama has some of the toughest marijuana-related laws still in existence. The misdeameanors that the players were charged with - what amounts to possession for personal use - are each punishable by up to and not more than a year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine. If they are convicted of the crime of possession, a second similar charge in the state of Alabama in the future would be considered a Class C felony and carry a minimum of one year in jail if convicted.

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