PORTLAND, Ore. -- An Iowa team advanced to the Little League Softball World Series semifinals Tuesday by beating a opponent forced into the tiebreaker after it was accused of deliberately losing a game.
The Central Iowa team beat South Snohomish Washington 3-2 in a rematch ordered by the tournament after it said it received reports that some teams "did not play with the effort and spirit appropriate" for Little League play.
"I wouldn't say vindicated. I would say that the two teams should have been playing for this spot played, and the better team won," said Chris Chadd, the president of Central Iowa Little League. "It's just an ecstatic feeling."
The dispute arose after the Washington team was no-hit Monday by a team from Salisbury, North Carolina. The loss created a three-way tie for the Pool B title, meaning that Washington and North Carolina would advance to the semifinals and the Polk City, Iowa, team would not.
Chadd, who was back in Iowa on Monday, said he was hearing from Iowa coach Charlie Husak that some of Washington's top hitters were bunting rather than swinging away, and that the West squad wasn't using its top pitcher to start the game.
Believing that Washington was deliberately trying to avoid a rematch with Iowa in the semifinals, Husak filed a protest with the tournament director.
The protest was upheld, forcing Snohomish to face the Iowans in Tuesday's tiebreaker.
"The only thing I would say is that (coach) Fred (Miller) fielded a lineup playing some girls that hadn't gotten to have much playing time," South Snohomish Little League President Jeff Taylor told the Everett Herald on Monday. "It wasn't a game that we absolutely had to win and the Central Iowa team took exception to that because the outcome was that they got knocked out. So they called foul, because they said we didn't play our best players."
In the tiebreaker, Mikayla Houge had 11 strikeouts for Central Iowa, which held the lead from the third inning on to earn a spot in a semifinal game set for later Tuesday.
Officials from Washington did not respond to an emailed request for further comment from the Associated Press.
"You look at the poor girls from Washington. They're suffering now because of a decision made by their coach," Chadd said. "I just feel for those girls. It makes me sad to know that those girl's hearts are breaking because of this."