Yardbarker- South Snohomish Little League of Sonohomish, Wash. is accused of throwing its game against Southeast representative Rowan Little League of Salisbury, N.C. A great case can be made against Snohomish, too. The West region representative was no-hit in an 8-0 loss. Reports say they played all their bench players and instructed them to bunt the entire game.
“It’s clear to everyone that they basically threw the game,” Central Iowa Little League president Chris Chadd told The Des Moines Register.
“It was very evident when they did the starting lineups that their four best players were on the bench and they were going to be the reserves,” Central head coach Charlie Husak told WHO. “It was very evident right away what was going on. They weren’t striving to win. We saw that and (our) girls — you could see — it took about a half an inning for them to catch on. We were trying to keep it from them, but you could see when they caught on that the tears started to pile up and it was pretty emotional.”
The Washington-based team went 3-0 in pool play, making them a lock to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. Snohomish had won its first two games by a combined score of 21-0. However, they struggled to defeat Central Iowa Little League 4-3. Iowa, meanwhile, won earlier in the day on Monday to improve to 3-1. As long as Snohomish beat North Carolina in the game after Iowa won, then Snohomish and Iowa would have been the two out of the five teams to advance from their pool (Snohomish would have been 4-0; Iowa 3-1; and North Carolina 2-2). But Iowa felt like Snohomish wanted them knocked out of the tournament, which is why it came up with a plan to throw its game against North Carolina.
Because Snohomish, Iowa and North Carolina all went 3-1 in pool play with 1-1 records against each opponent, a runs allowed average would have been the tiebreaker to determine which two advance to the semifinals. An 8-0 win for N.C. would have helped the Southeast team win a tiebreaker with Iowa.
Iowa protested the game but the Little League Softball World Series did nothing, so the Des Moines Register says they appealed to the governing body — Little League International. Little League International determined there was some funny business, so they forced a game between Iowa and Washington to determine who would advance to the semifinals along with the North Carolina team.
I have given this a lot of thought. I still can't decide whether the fact that collusion has seemingly become an annual epidemic within the Little League World Series is more disturbing or hysterical. I think I am leading toward hysterical. We are talking about kids that are like 6 years removed from getting unlimited strikes and hitting off a tee. Kids strictly playing for the love of the game. Leave it to a bunch of asshole adults that are trying to live vicariously through their children to turn a youth baseball/softball tournament controversial. Hell, the LLWS is only billions of dollars, an endless supply of talent, and an illegal gambling ring short of being as convoluted and corrupt as professional sports. How can you not find that funny?
I am not even totally against this team from Washington throwing their game in order to keep Iowa out of the playoffs. You've got to do what's best for your team's chances of winning. If you are 3-0 and played well enough to put yourself in a position to be able to take an 8-0 loss heading into the playoffs then you deserve the opportunity to take that loss if it could benefit you in the long run. Let's not act like this concept is unforeseen in sports. The NBA and NHL are both currently dealing with multiple franchises that are intentionally tanking for future draft picks. Hell, the Indianapolis Colts lost their starting quarterback to neck surgery and decided to do everything in their power to lose in a successful attempt to replace him with another starting quarterback.
I think my only problem with it is how poorly they veiled their throwing of the game. They didn't just compromise the integrity of the game. They put the integrity of the game in a brown paper bag, shit on it, put it on Little League International's doorstep, and lit it on fire. Starting all their backups? Telling all their players to bunt? Come on, that effort made Daria look like a gym class hero. It makes Sam Hinkie looks like he's winning at all costs. I don't care if you throw your worst starting pitcher out there or tell your players to swing at bad pitches, but at least try to make it look like your trying. Do you know how bad a tank job has to be in order for it to get recognized during a girl's softball game? Kids that young are literally capable of anything. If the shortstop continually kept throwing the ball into the 3rd row of the stands it may seem a little questionable, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Washington has Chuck Knoblauch's daughter on their roster. However, once you start bunting through the order you give the governing body no choice but to take action. South Snohomish and their morally corrupt coaches aren't being punished because they are guilty of gamesmanship, they are being punished because they are being incredibly terrible at gamesmanship. If you are so good at winning that you are that bad at losing then maybe you shouldn't be worried about some team from po-dunk Iowa. Ever think of that Skipper?