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Vermont coach's error leads to NH team's victory (Little League World Series)
AP/Boston Herald ^ | 8/12/06 | AP/Boston Heraldo

Posted on 08/13/2006 9:49:20 AM PDT by raccoonradio

BRISTOL, Conn. - A Vermont coach’s failure to let one member of his team get enough time in the game gave the Portsmouth, N.H., Little League all-stars a victory over Vermont’s team by virtue of forfeit.

The manager’s apparent mental error turned a back-and-forth game - complete with six home runs - into a contest marred by confusion, chaos, tears and two ejections.

Portsmouth lost Friday’s game 9-8 if runs are counted, but the team was awarded the victory and advanced to Monday’s championship because of Vermont’s rules infraction.

The Colchester, Vt., manager Denis Place failed to get a player in the game for at least three consecutive defensive outs and one at-bat - a mandatory Little League rule. That meant the New Hampshire state champions were officially awarded a 6-0 forfeit victory.

In the bottom of the fifth inning with the game tied, 7-7, Vermont scored twice on a Nate Frieberg two-out, two-run homer. Vermont held a 9-7 lead and seemingly stood three defensive outs away from a berth in the title game.

But Vermont substitute Adam Bentley hadn’t received his required share of playing time.

Portsmouth recorded the fifth-inning’s third out before Bentley stepped to the plate. The only way for Vermont to have had a chance to play Bentley would have been if Portsmouth made a come back.

Place told his players what had happened during a huddle at the pitcher’s mound once the first two outs were recorded in the top of the sixth.

Keegan Taylor started the inning with a double and later scored to cut the Portsmouth deficit to 9-8. Vermont attempted to allow Portsmouth to tie the game - so Vermont could avoid a rules violation - with obvious wild pitches and poor throws in the infield.

“Call me stupid, but I didn’t know anything until they wouldn’t pitch to my son (Connor),” Portsmouth manager Mark McCauley said. “When they started to throw the ball into the screen, I was like ’Whoa, wait a minute. This kid just got wild.’ Then one of the (Portsmouth) parents yelled down right after - or maybe it was simultaneous - ’They don’t have a kid that’s in.’

“Once it was obvious to me that they were playing (funny) by throwing the ball into the top of the screen, the administrators called both (managers) over and said, ’You will not make a mockery of this game,”’ McCauley added.

When Vermont continued to try to help Portsmouth tie the game, Place and Vermont pitcher Zach Tandy were ejected.

Tandy’s two blatant wild pitches pushed the potential tying run to third, but McCauley kept his player from advancing any farther. The Portsmouth manager said he also told his players to swing at poor pitches and intentionally miss, to ensure the team could protest.

“It was crystal clear to me that (Vermont’s manager) was not going to let the kids decide the outcome of the game,” McCauley said. “He was going to cover his tail. He was doing what was in the best interest of his team. I had to do the same for my team.”

Executing McCauley’s orders, Stephen Hemming struck out to end the game.

McCauley approached the umpires before they left the field and filed his protest. About two hours later the rules committee in Williamsport, Pa., issued its ruling.

“I’ll be drop-dead honest. I would’ve rather walked off that field losing, 9-8, and been ignorant to the fact that we didn’t do our job to check that book,” McCauley said. “I hate this. I absolutely hate this. I wish I wasn’t here. I feel absolutely horrible about it. You know who I feel the worst for is those Vermont kids. You can’t say anything to those kids. My heart breaks for those kids.”

Players from both teams and Vermont’s manager were unavailable for comment.

But Tammi Tandy, a Vermont team parent, insisted Place’s mishap was an honest mistake.

“Was it intentional Absolutely not,” Tandy said. “(The coaches are) in there crying their eyes out with these kids. It’s just a bum deal. It’s one of those freak things. You don’t ever expect not to play a player. And then in the excitement, guess what happens?”

Portsmouth is now one win away from representing New England at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: baseball; colchester; littleleague; newhampshire; portsmouth; vermont

1 posted on 08/13/2006 9:49:22 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

"And then we're going to Williamsport to take back the Little League World Series! Yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!"

(er, no...)

And if you're wondering, I get the feeling we won't be seeing Harold Reynolds offering "Tips for Sexually Harrassing Your Co-Workers" on ESPN's Little League World Series coverage this year...

2 posted on 08/13/2006 9:51:10 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

>>Vermont attempted to allow Portsmouth to tie the game - so Vermont could avoid a rules violation - with obvious wild pitches and poor throws in the infield.

A plot point for "Bad News Bears IV"

>>"(The coaches are) in there crying their eyes out with these kids"

What..are you crying? There's no crying in baseball!


3 posted on 08/13/2006 9:55:30 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

Sad and manipulative. I always wondered why there are these 'mandatory playing time' rules for an All-Star game. Just let the best kids play and you find out which team deserves to win. Socialism on the playing field. I think this rule is good for Parks and Recs teams but on an All-Star team? No. Meanwhile, no respect for the NH coach. He realized his team could win on a rules infraction and didn't have them play up to their potential to try and beat the Vermont team. Bad conduct all around. Poor examples for the kids.


4 posted on 08/13/2006 10:00:18 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: raccoonradio

OK, which coach will we side with here.

My opinion -- the first coach made an honest mistake, he sent the guy to the plate but the guy didn't make it up before 3 outs, and then he realised because they batted last his guy wasn't going to get up in the 6th inning.

So he did the only thing he could, which was try to get the game tied so he could let the kid play an at-bat like the rules say.

Which is also a nice thing, because the rules exist to ensure that all the players get to bat in the game.

The OTHER coach, rather than let his team get tied, and give the child a chance to bat in the game, told HIS kids to throw the game knowing they would then protest and win.

The FIRST team wasn't ensured a win -- in fact, they were risking their victory by allowing the game to get tied, and after it was tied the other team might have gotten some hits with the bases loaded and pulled way ahead.

The FIRST coach could have had their pitcher hit the next batter, ensuring a tie game.

I've never heard of a pitcher being ejected from the game for throwing wild pitches, aren't they allowed to issue intentional walks in little league? But if purposely pitching bad makes a "mockery" of the game, what does swinging at wild pitches do?

In the end, one coach messed up, the other coach took advantage of it, and the children did NOT get to decide the game. So the 2nd coach's claim that the 1st coach wasn't "letting the kids decide the game" was false.

But he's probably considered a hero.


5 posted on 08/13/2006 10:05:11 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

>>The OTHER coach, rather than let his team get tied, and give the child a chance to bat in the game, told HIS kids to throw the game knowing they would then protest and win.

Well, the Portsmouth team, which got the win by forfeit,
is right now playing against the team from Glastonbury, CT
(_Laura Ingraham's home town_, btw)...for the right to go to Williamsport...and the VT team is out of it.


6 posted on 08/13/2006 10:12:13 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: CharlesWayneCT

Talk about twisted logic. The VT team screwed up, and initiated the foolishness that threatened to make a mockery of the game. At no point should it be incumbent upon the NH team to play along with the scheme simply to help the VT coach cover his error.


7 posted on 08/13/2006 10:15:44 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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To: NittanyLion

But shouldn't the NH team try to actually WIN the game, rather than purposely throwing the game simply because they know that, by not letting the VT team bat again, they could protest the game and win NOT on the field, but rather by the rules committee?

The vermont TEAM didn't screw up, the vermont COACH screwed up. In payment for that mistake, he wanted to concede 3 runs to the other team to tie the game so they would get to bat again, CORRECTING his mistake.

They weren't trying to throw the game, or purposely lose the game -- they were trying their best to WIN THE GAME on the field the only way they could, by tying the game so they could get their last player an at-bat.

The other team, rather than trying to win the game on the field, THREW the game, purposely LOST the game, by refusing to play the game to win, or try to score more runs than the other team.

In a normal game, if you were ahead by one run in the last inning, and you were at the heart of the lineup of the other team, you might walk three straight batters in order to get to a weak batter. Purposely putting players on the bases isn't normally part of the game, and could be a "mockery".

Well, in this case, because of the rules, in order to win the game the team had to actually let the other team score a couple of runs in order to have a chance to win. Not really different from walking the bases loaded.

The other team purposely LOST the game. That is a mockery of the game, purposely losing so you can protest and win by forfeit.


8 posted on 08/13/2006 10:23:45 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

You make good points - while I don't have a problem with what the NH coach did, I concede that there is a strong argument for the other side as well. It's definitely an interesting case...


9 posted on 08/13/2006 10:26:32 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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To: raccoonradio
THE LITTLE LEAGUE PLEDGE:

I trust in God.

I love my country and will respect its laws.

I will play fair and strive to win but win or lose...

I will always do my best.

10 posted on 08/13/2006 11:56:26 AM PDT by frankiep (I respect Islamofacists more than the American left - at least they ADMIT that they hate the US.)
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To: frankiep

Bronx version of pledge adds: I will lie about my age.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/08/25/sports/main308151.shtml

"(CBS) Little League officials stripped a Bronx all-star team of its third-place World Series title Friday after revelations that the team's Dominican-born star pitcher, Danny Almonte, 14, was too old to play. His parents had said he is 12 - Little League age. All the victories won by his Bronx, N.Y., team, the Rolando Polino Little League All-Stars, were forfeited, and all its records, including Almonte's perfect game, were wiped out."


11 posted on 08/13/2006 12:33:14 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

I remember that. Wonder how long it will be before he is playing for the Yankees (aka Satan). From what I recall, he looked almost old enough to be playing for them back then.


12 posted on 08/13/2006 1:06:38 PM PDT by frankiep (I respect Islamofacists more than the American left - at least they ADMIT that they hate the US.)
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To: raccoonradio
“When they started to throw the ball into the screen, I was like ’Whoa, wait a minute. This kid just got wild.’ Then one of the (Portsmouth) parents yelled down right after - or maybe it was simultaneous - ’They don’t have a kid that’s in.’

“Once it was obvious to me that they were playing (funny) by throwing the ball into the top of the screen, the administrators called both (managers) over and said, ’You will not make a mockery of this game,”’ McCauley added.

At that point it was too late to avoid that. When you have rules saying that you don't play your best players, it is already a mockery. I accept that you can have a league which requires you to play everyone a certain amount of the game - but when a coach realizes that he hasn't abided by that rule and will forfeit unless the game goes into extra innings, he is not wrong to intentionally give up enough runs to tie the game.

The other coach was a jerk to play for a forfeit when he realized that the opponent had made that mistake. He is the one who made a mockery of the idea of competition. Let them try to give up enough runs to tie without giving up enough runs to lose. If you can't beat them when they are forced to play that way, you don't deserve to win. And if you play for a forfeit, at that point you are the one who is preventing that last kid from getting to play.


13 posted on 08/13/2006 1:07:17 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT; NittanyLion
The NH coach played to lose the game on the field, and to prevent one of the other team's players from getting to play, in order to win off the field on a technicality.

Morally the NH coach has no case - unless "winning is everything" is your idea of morality.


14 posted on 08/13/2006 1:21:24 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: NittanyLion
Morally the NH coach has no case - which is undoubtedly why he said, “It was crystal clear to me that (Vermont’s manager) was not going to let the kids decide the outcome of the game.”

When what he meant was that he realized that he could prevent the Vermont kids from deciding the outcome of the game - by throwing the game and then whining to the rules committee about a mistake that the Vermont coach tried to rectify.


15 posted on 08/13/2006 1:35:43 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

You stated the case better than I. Thanks.


16 posted on 08/13/2006 2:44:38 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: raccoonradio
Po;itically-correct scoring.

I've lived too long, just kill me now.

17 posted on 08/13/2006 5:24:52 PM PDT by elkfersupper
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To: elkfersupper

how about some kids' soccer leagues where they don't keep score because it might hurt their feelings? they exist.


18 posted on 08/13/2006 6:09:54 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio
McCauley is a chicken shit who should be ashamed of himself to tell his kids to play that way.

If you can't win fairly, you are not a Champion, nor deserving to play in a championship round.

19 posted on 08/13/2006 8:02:22 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (If pro is the opposite of con, is progress the opposite of congress?)
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To: Michael.SF.

from a Portsmouth, NH paper (Herald)

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/08132006/sports-McCauley813.html

"Portsmouth coach Mark McCauley called it one of the worst days in his life, and said the most gut-wrenching moment during that miserable afternoon came when Vermont's third baseman stopped wiping the tears from his eyes, turned to him and said, "Please let him hit it."

...Shortly thereafter McCauley instructed Stephen Hemming to strike out intentionally so he could protest the outcome.

...Place told the Burlington Free Press that he put Bentley into the game as a pinch-runner in the fourth inning and intended to have him pinch-hit later in that inning, a move that is allowed by Little League rules. Place said he forgot to make the substitution.
...McCauley said he also became concerned during Hemming's at-bat after he heard someone in the crowd yell, "Just hit the kid."

According to McCauley, the next pitch hit the knob of Hemming's bat. McCauley said he did not speak with the Vermont coach following the game.

"It was awful," McCauley said. "Absolutely awful. We had to be escorted off the field by security. Both teams were robbed of a valuable moment -- even if that moment was a 9-8 loss. We do not feel good about this."


20 posted on 08/13/2006 10:26:35 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio
and from the Burlington (VT) Free Press:

---------------

""My sons have played for Denis for four years," she said. "He is probably the fairest and most rule-minded person you can imagine. It was an honest oversight."

Tammy Frieberg, whose son Nate launched a two-run home run Friday, echoed the sentiment.

"It was an honest mistake," she added. "This coaching staff did a tremendous job."...

Portsmouth trailed 9-8 with two outs in the top of the sixth inning and had runners on second and third base. Place knew he wouldn't be able to provide his substitutes a turn at-bat if Colchester maintained the lead. He instructed his pitcher to throw a few wild pitches to entice Potsmouth's runner home to tie the game. That way his substitute would get to the plate in the bottom of the inning to avoid a forfeit.

Portsmouth manager Mark McCauley held his runner on third, however, directing his batter to intentionally strike out and end the game, according to reports in the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader. McCauley protested the result, and his team won by forfeit.

"It was crystal-clear to me that (Vermont's manager) was not going to let the kids decide the outcome of the game," McCauley told the Manchester Union Leader after the game. "He was going to cover his tail. He was doing what was in the best interest of his team. I had to do the same for my team."

21 posted on 08/13/2006 10:31:16 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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