MONT BELVIEU, Texas -

Even before players for the Barbers Hill High School softball team took the field for their playoff game Thursday night, they were already dealing with an unexpected curve ball.

Their head coach, Perri Smith, has been placed on paid administrative leave because of what the district calls a "violation of the district communications policy regarding students."

The district wouldn't give specifics, but says the nature of the violation required an immediate investigation.

"All the softball girls are really upset about it and they think it's not true," student Kristin Allen said.

Smith, 34, has been with the district since 2008 and teaches classes in the English Department. Her sudden leave comes on the heels of a big game. The undefeated team will take on Magnolia West High School in the opening of their second round playoff series.

"They're really in distress," Allen said.  "They don't know what they're going to do."

District Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole sent this statement to Local 2, "While the timing of this incident is unfortunate, the safety of our students will always take precedence."

Athletic Director Ronnie Gage sent this statement, "Any goal worth achieving will always involve overcoming adversity, and I am confident our senior leadership and experience will help us to continue to move forward in our quest to win a championship."

The district says two assistant coaches will lead the team while Smith is on administrative leave.