A team of Little League softball players is taking some heat this week after allegedly throwing a game at an international tournament.
On Monday, a team of girls from Snohomish, Wash. lost 8-0 to a squad from North Carolina as part of the softball Little League World Series in Oregon — but the loss turned some heads. The Washington team was no-hit by its opponent, with many starters being benched and every player being ordered to bunt, according to witness accounts.
It’s believed the Washington team intentionally lost because they already had a place secured in the semifinals; the loss resulted in the opposing North Carolina squad also moving on to the semifinals. Meanwhile, a team from central Iowa was eliminated from play despite winning a separate game 7-0 in a game that was contested, according to The Des Moines Register.
“It’s clear to everyone that they basically threw the game,” an official with Central Iowa Little League told The Des Moines Register. “It’s not the girls’ fault. It’s the coaches … they should be disqualified,” he added, referring to the Washington team.
The Iowa team’s coaches reportedly protested the game’s outcome to LLWS officials who agreed the “integrity of the game had been compromised,” according to Iowa’s KCCI-TV.
Little League International released a statement on the matter Tuesday morning, according to The Des Moines Register. The statement ordered a one-game playoff between the Washington and Iowa teams to be held Tuesday.
The statement pointed to “credible reports that some teams did not play with the effort and spirit appropriate for any Little League game,” as leading to the final decision.
According to the Associated Press, the slighted Iowa team won the Tuesday game 3-2, eliminating Washington from the tournament.
A cheating scandal affected the baseball Little League World Series in 2014, leading to the tournament’s champion being stripped of its title. In that case, a Chicago team was found to be guilty of improperly redrawing boundaries for where eligible players could live.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.