“There’s no crying in baseball,” Tom Hanks’ character famously says in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.” Now a girls team in Virginia has learned that there’s no flipping the bird in softball.
Players from the Atlee Little League squad found out Saturday that they’d been disqualified, just hours after their semifinal victory Friday in the Junior League World Series.
Why? League officials said six Atlee players had posed in a Snapchat photo, raising their middle fingers to taunt the team from Kirkland, Washington, which they had just beaten on Kirkland’s home field, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
When Atlee manager Scott Currie found out about the photo Friday, he took swift action, the newspaper reported. First, he made sure the photo was deleted, then he had his players deliver an in-person apology to the Kirkland squad.
But on Saturday, Currie and the Atlee players learned the apology wasn’t enough. The league had decided to let Kirkland, not Atlee, advance to the final round.
Currie and Atlee coach Chris Mardigian both said the punishment seemed too harsh.
“It’s a travesty for these girls,” Currie told the Times-Dispatch. “Yes, they screwed up, but I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.”
Mardigian alleged that some Kirkland players had been instigators who taunted the Atlee side first during Friday’s game.
League spokesman Kevin Fountain issued the following statement:
“After discovering a recent inappropriate social media post involving members of Atlee Little League’s Junior League Softball tournament team, the Little League® International Tournament Committee has removed the Southeast Region from the 2017 Junior League Softball World Series for violation of Little League’s policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct, inappropriate use of social media, and the high standard that Little League International holds for all its participants.”