After teams from Delaware and Maryland were deemed ineligible for play in the East Regional Junior and Majors Softball tournaments, WGMD reached out to tournament officials for an explanation. As well as an explanation as to why Delaware’s Majors team was replaced with another team to represent Delaware in Bristol, CT, but why in Maryland’s case – no team replaced their Havre de Grace Junior team and there is no representation from Maryland in that tournament in Orange, CT. The following is the response we received from East Region Tournament official, Kevin Fountain:
Thank you for reaching out to our East Region office. I’m more than happy to provide clarification on the two issues you have referenced.
All teams participating in the Little League International Tournament undergo an eligibility verification process. Prior to the start of tournament play, it is the League Presidents responsibility to certify the eligibility requirements of all players within the league who participate in tournament play. This review process takes place prior to the start of each level of play of the Little League International Tournament. Little League takes all matters of eligibility seriously, and thoroughly reviews all matters as they are brought to the attention of the Little League International Tournament Committee.
In reference to the majors softball team from Delaware, the Little League International Tournament Committee reviewed information pertaining to the eligibility of the Laurel Little League Major Division (10-12) Softball team. Upon review of the information supplied by the league, the Tournament Committee determined that a player on the league’s Major Division Softball team did not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in Laurel Little League as outlined in Little League Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Operating Policies, in which this player does not reside in, nor attend school, within Laurel Little League’s approved boundaries. Based on this determination, the Tournament Committee deemed Laurel Little League’s 10-12 Softball Tournament Team ineligible to participate in the International Tournament. As a result of this determination, the Tournament Committee made the decision to advance Canal Little League from the Delaware State Tournament to the Little League Softball East Regional Tournament after being informed by league officials of the runner-up team that they would be unable to participate. The decision of the Little League International Tournament Committee is final and binding.
In regards to the Junior League Softball team, the decision by the Tournament Committee was made less than 24 hours before the start of the tournament and was determined that there was not adequate time to find a replacement team before the start of the tournament, therefore no state representative from Maryland will be competing in the Junior League Softball East Regional Tournament.
Kevin Fountain | Director of Media Relations
Little League International
539 US Highway 15, Williamsport, PA 17701
ORIGINAL STORY – July 19: With play scheduled to begin Saturday – Little League officials have ruled Delaware’s Majors Softball State Champions, Laurel, are ineligible to play in the Eastern Regionals in Bristol, Connecticut. Little League officials say one of the team’s members, who has played for the Laurel Little League all her life, lives outside of the Map Boundary. Laurel team officials on their Facebook page say they spent yesterday trying to rectify the situation with no luck.
On their Facebook page, Laurel Little League had this to say on the situation, ” We are taking the necessary precautions to assure that a situation like this will NEVER arise again. To the players, our hearts are with you, to the parents and coaches thank you for all you do and have done.”
WGMD has learned that the Maryland State Junior Softball Champions from Havre de Grace have been disqualified from the East/Mid-Atlantic Regionals of their tournament after it was found that two girls on the team had boundary issues.
Statement From Havre de Grace Little League
“Havre de Grace Little League is disappointed to report its 2019 Maryland Champion Junior Softball team, for 13 and 14 year old girls, is not being allowed to participate in the East Region Tournament this week that it qualified for by winning the state tournament.
Two girls on the team, because of a boundary disagreement between local and Maryland Little League officials, who approved their participation, and Little League officials at a Regional level, who did not, were ruled ineligible to be on the team. Those Regional Little League officials, with the support of Little League International officials ruled the whole team ineligible for the Regional tournament that began play Friday.
The two girls in question were approved for Little League All Star play representing Havre de Grace Little League in 2018 and again this season. Not until the team advanced to the Regional did any Little League official question their eligibility. Havre de Grace Little League, the only Little League program in Harford County, has long accepted players, with the blessing of Little League officials, from areas in the county outside of Havre de Grace.
The 2019 Little League Softball Rulebook says the following: “Each local Little League determines the actual boundaries of the area from within which it shall select players.: The two girls in question have approved not only for Tournament All Stars the past two seasons, but also have been regular season participants as well. Their names and addresses have been included on the regular season rosters information submitted to Little League as required before the start of the past two seasons.
We strongly disagree with the decision to disqualify our girls. And we are deeply saddened by the hurt these girls are dealing with because of the disagreement between adults at the local and State levels and the Little League Regional officials over a boundary dispute we thought was approved long ago.
We thank the greater Havre de Grace Little League community for its outpouring of support for these girls as they advanced to the East Region. We are disappointed for everyone involved with the team and for our community.”
President Havre de Grace Little League
Vice President – Softball
Havre de Grace Little League