A Little League World Series coach is not happy with an opposing team that defeated them over the weekend. Pat Dutton, the head coach of the Goffstown, New Hampshire team has accused the team from Barrington, Rhode Island stole their signs in the 6-4 win in the New England Region Final in Bristol, Connecticut on Saturday.
"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 to the 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."
Dutton said he first noticed Barrington stealing signs earlier in the win after Goffstown defeated them 2-1. He told the home plate umpire about the sign stealing and he told him again on Saturday. The umpire warned the Barrington players and coach when he saw it on Saturday, which should have led to ejections. Dutton could have done more, but he said it wouldn’t have mattered.
“It’s just frustrating to see teams and kids having to go about it that way when clearly they were playing better than we were,” he said. “They didn’t have to do that. That’s something these kids don’t learn on their own. That’s something that they’re taught. They’re coached to do that.”
Stealing signs is an unwritten rule on the professional level, but that’s not the case in Little League Baseball. Per the New York Post, the rule says, “If in the judgment of the umpire, a player/coach/manager is deemed to be stealing and relaying pitch selection or a location, it is considered unsportsmanlike, and said offender is to be ejected from the game.”
Barrington did respond to the accusations and denied any wrong-doing.
“The article in the Union Leader is unfortunate, and its premise false,” Barrington said in a statement to Boston.com. “We hold our coaches, players and teams to the highest standards, and do not coach or condone unsportsmanlike behavior of any kind.”
Barrington will now head to Williamsport, Pennsylvania and they will face South Riding, Virginia on Thursday.