Little League Softball World Series Embroiled in Game-Throwing Scandal
Move over, Chicago Black Sox. You now have game-throwing company in the form of a Little League softball team from Snohomish, Wash.
To avoid facing tougher competition in the quarterfinals of the Little League Softball World Series, the undefeated South Snohomish softball squad allegedly threw its last game in pool play, creating a three-way tie that eliminated the Central Iowa All-Stars from contention.
Chris Chadd, president of Central Iowa Little League, told The Des Moines Register that the Snohomish team benched starters and only attempted to bunt all game, resulting in an 8-0 no-hitter loss to a North Carolina team.
"It's clear to everyone that they basically threw the game," Chadd told the paper.
Little League International agreed. In an official statement posted on its Facebook page, it ordered a one-game playoff between Central Iowa and South Snohomish, saying, "The Little League International Tournament Committee recently received credible reports that some teams did not play with the effort and spirit appropriate for any Little League game."
Central Iowa made the best of its second chance Tuesday morning, defeating the girls from Snohomish, 3-2, and advancing to the semifinals. Pitcher Mikayla Houge notched 11 strikeouts on the day to eliminate the Washington team from the tournament.
Following its loss to Central Iowa, South Snohomish Little League released a statement Tuesday afternoon (via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer):
Our coach was faced with a decision that, in the bubble of intense competition, appeared to him to be in the best interest of our team. In hindsight, it is very likely he would have made a different choice. Though the decision that Coach Miller made did not violate the letter of the rules, I can see abundant evidence that it was not in line with the spirit of the game.
Once we have an opportunity to examine what transpired, we will be able to learn from these events in Portland. We will make sure that we are doing all that we can to provide our players with the opportunity to compete in a way that honors their commitment to fair play and open competition.
Ironically, South Snohomish was the only team to defeat Central Iowa in pool play.
The Central Iowans' storybook ending was not to be, however. On Tuesday evening, they fell 5-4 to the East regional champion squad from Warwick, R.I., in the semifinals.
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