The 13-year-old girl who took the Little League World Series by storm probably had what it takes to go all the way to the finals.
The Chicago team that kicked Mo’ne Davis’ Philadelphia crew out of the U.S. championship was stripped of their national title today after it was revealed they broke the rules and poached players from neighboring communities.
The historic all-black Jackie Robinson West team beat Davis’ Philadelphia team in the semi-finals of the U.S. championship.
If Davis’ team won, they would have gone on to challenge a team from Nevada.
In a stunning Wednesday announcement that came months after Jackie Robinson West captured the attention of the country and the hearts of its hometown, the baseball organization said it also found that after the boundaries were changed, league officials went to surrounding leagues to convince them to go along with what they’d done.
‘This is a heartbreaking decision,’ Stephen D. Keener, the Little League International president and CEO, said in a statement.
‘As painful as it is, we feel it is a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program. No team can be allowed to attempt to strengthen its team by putting players on their roster that live outside their boundaries.’
The team’s manager, Darold Butler, has been suspended from Little League activities, according to the statement.
The investigation began when a suburban coach alleged the team had violated rules by poaching top players from nearby suburbs. The story, which was first reported by DNAinfo.com, appeared to end in December when the national organization said it had uncovered no violations.
But in February, the organization revealed that it had reopened the investigation after receiving new information.
League officials did not immediately return calls for comment. Throughout the investigation, the team has maintained that no cheating occurred.
Runner-up Las Vegas team Mountain Ridge Little League suggested that because of allegations, the Chicago team should be stripped of its 2014 title.
Mountain Ridge President Kristi Black said that the team’s U.S. title ‘has an asterisk on it like the one on Barry Bonds’ home run record’, according to DNAinfo.
She added that the Las Vegas team ‘rightfully deserves to be recognized as the legitimate team that went the farthest’.
Jackie Robinson West captured the attention of the country last summer for becoming the first team composed entirely of black players to win the U.S. championship.
The team beat Las Vegas in the U.S. Championship, 7-5, to advance to the World Series where they faced Seoul, South Korea. The Nevada team had beaten Jackie Robinson West earlier in the tournament, 13-2.
Despite their loss to a South Korean team in the World Series, the little leagues still earned a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, according to Washington Post.
But since the games ended, groups from neighboring areas, as well as Mountain Ridge Little League, accused the team’s officials of poaching standout players from other districts.
Allegations have been made that Jackie Robinson West officials created a roster filled with all-star ringers, including players from the suburbs, and secretly expanded league boundaries in a move that helped the team win the title, according to DNAinfo.
New evidence was revealed last week when Little League officials met in Chicago, said DNAinfo.
Source: The DailyMail