The 2019 Little League World Series kicks off this week in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, but there is already some drama. The Little League team from Barrington, Rhode Island — which will represent the New England Region — is being accused of stealing signs from an opposing manager.
The accusations come from Pat Dutton, who managed the team from Goffstown, New Hampshire, which lost to Barrington in the regional final.
“You can see [runners on second base] leaning in, looking in and they’re doing hand gestures to their kid [at the plate] indicating what kind of pitch it is and where it’s located,” Dutton said, via the New Hampshire Union Leader. “You can do that in big league ball, but in Little League it’s unsportsmanlike, it’s dishonorable and it’s disgusting.
“They did it the whole tournament and got away with it, and now that’s what’s representing New England in the Little League World Series. It’s just a bad look.”
If players or coaches are caught stealing signals at the Little League level, they are subject to ejection.
As you might expect, however, Barrington denied the allegations.
“We hold our coaches, players and teams to the highest standards,” the Barrington team said in a statement, via Boston.com, “and do not coach or condone unsportsmanlike behavior of any kind.
“Likewise, we do not condone anyone making disparaging comments about opposing teams, particularly teams like Barrington’s All-Star team, a team made up of dedicated volunteer coaches and 13 exceptional young players. That goes against our core values, and is, in fact, a violation of the rules and spirit of Little League itself. If an opposing team or manager has any concerns, they should take them up with Little League. We are extremely proud of our team and wish them well in Williamsport.”
The Little League World Series kicks off on Thursday, August 15 and wraps up with the consolation game and championship on Sunday, August 25.