Coach Lashes Out At Critics Who Say His Team Tanked Game In Little League Softball World Series
Fred Miller, coach of the Snohomish-based Western Washington All-Star team, didn't come right out and say that his team tanked a game on Tuesday in the Little League Softball World Series, but he might as well have. Anyway, it wasn't his fault, said Miller, because the system is to blame.
On Wednesday he lashed out at everyone in sight on Facebook (see below), and said that his players were "harassed with notes left on their hotel room doors, calling them cheaters." He said that an assistant coach had to sleep in the hallway to protect the players.
South Snohomish, WA, lost to Salisbury, NC, 8-0, on Tuesday, and didn't even get a hit, despite going 3-0 in the LLSWS up to then. That result created a three-way tie in their bracket, meaning that the team from Iowa was eliminated on run aggregate, and would not advance to the semifinals. South Snohomish had struggled to beat Central Iowa 4-3 earlier in the tournament, and presumably didn't want a rematch.
But Central Iowa then watched as South Snohomish didn't start its four best players against North Carolina, and had its players strike out on purpose -- in other words, they tanked. So Iowa lodged a protest with Little League Softball World Series officials. That got them nowhere, so they went to Little League International, the overall governing body, which agreed that unfair shenanigans occurred. Little League Int. decided to set a special playoff game between Central Iowa and South Snohomish to decide which team would move on to the semis.
On Wednesday Central Iowa won that game, 3-2 -- eliminating South Snohomish.
Miller spoke out on his wife's Twitter account on Wednesday, saying of his team:
“They have been called cheaters and that is total (excuse my French) crap. My girls fought their butts off til the final out today and I am super proud of them."
The French language aside, Miller is right when he says his players should not be blamed. But then his logic leans over awkwardly and collapses:
“Little League promotes playing all your kids and because I played my reserves my team got screwed. I played my 4 reserves the whole game and little league tells me that because I did that my team would not get the 2 seed. What is that telling the kids and the community? That I must play my starters every game and if I don’t, I will be penalized! That is wrong!"
Please. He doesn't mention the part about his players bunting with two strikes and swinging at bad pitches, failing to even get one hit.
New York Magazine:
Not only was this a violation of Little League rules — teams are supposed to "strive to win" — the coaches from Washington trying to avoid a rematch with Iowa made the players watching from the bleachers cry. “It took about a half-inning for the girls to catch on,” Central Iowa coach Charlie Husak told WHO-TV. “We were trying to keep it from them, but you could see when they caught on that the tears started to pile up. It was pretty emotional.”
Miller went on at great length in his Facebook post about how he had done nothing wrong, and about how the system was flawed -- but you can't see it now, because it's been taken down. I'm guessing he couldn't deal with the comments.
Anyway, the real winner in all of this? Salisbury, NC, who beat Warwick, RI, 4-2, in the championship game.
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