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Controversy follows Little Leaguers

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Posted: July 19, 2014 - 11:00pm  |  Updated: July 20, 2014 - 12:21am

It seems like drama can’t be avoided when Little League teams head to postseason tournaments.

At the Georgia Little League Senior League Baseball State Championship at Evans High School last weekend, tournament organizers from Martinez-Evans Little League faced the chore of correctly figuring out a three-way tie on the first day of the tournament, with one team set to be eliminated.

To their credit, they went by the rule book and did everything the right way, but the eliminated coach kind of lost his mind. I can’t say I blame him. His team lost by one run to the first team and beat MELL 1-0 and almost couldn’t have played any better.

The problem was they had to go by a runs-allowed ratio, with MELL’s team coming out on top – and then it reverted to head-to head competition at that point. If it had stayed with the top two teams and the runs-allowed rule, the eliminated team would have stuck around. I don’t know what the best way to do it is, but that seemed like the wrong way to have to do it – per the rule book.

According to Woodie Melton, MELL league coordinator, the MELL juniors were embroiled in their own controversy.

In Harris County, the MELL junior league team was eliminated and headed home after players were ejected on consecutive nights. In a 22-17 win over West Point on Monday, they had a player round third base and collide with the catcher in the baseline, which is prohibited, and was thrown out.

In Tuesday’s contest against Rockmart, a MELL player swung at a pitch and the bat slipped out of his hands and hit the umpire. He was ejected and that left MELL with just eight players, causing the team to forfeit the contest, ending their tournament.

That was the MELL report. What the umpire and assistant district administrator reported was that the player hit a line drive that was caught and slung his bat, hitting the umpire.

MELL’s immediate protest was not upheld. Either way, the umpire had a warning at his discretion but went ahead with the ejection knowing what that would mean.

It’s ugly when it gets to a he-said, he said.

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