Central Iowa All-Stars drop a close one in LLSWS semis
Central Iowa Head Coach Charlie Husak wasn’t kidding when he called the past day and a half an “emotional rollercoaster” for his team.
The girls from the Central region lost a close battle to the East region Tuesday night, after the girls from Warwick, R.I., held off a late rally to beat Iowa 5-4, halting Iowa’s dreams of reaching the championship game.
It came only hours after the team, comprised of players from the Ballard, Collins-Maxwell and North Polk areas, won a 3-2 tiebreaker game against the West team from Snohomish, Wash. That game was rooted in controversy, as the day before, the West team was accused of “throwing” its final pool game against the Southeast region team from Salisbury, N.C., where they lost 8-0 and did not start four of their best players.
According to Holly Johnson — whose daughter Isabella plays shortstop for the Central Iowa team — given the fact that Iowa was the toughest opponent so far, that seemed to be the theory.
“We thought we were going to see a game between the Southeast and the West yesterday, but it was very evident from the beginning of the game that they were going to throw it,” Johnson said. “So you’re just sitting there watching it in disbelief. I must just be a naive person because I never thought anyone would do that.”
After investigating the matter, Little League International Senior Director of Communications Brian McClintock determined “some teams did not play with the effort and spirit appropriate for any Little League game, ” resulting in the teams playing the tiebreaker.
“Little League protects teams like us from that happening, and they did a good job of finding a solution to the problem,” Husak said. “They didn’t want things to affect the kids, and they wanted the seed and who advanced to be determined on the field - not by the travesty of an adult’s decision.”
The game became the emotional spark that was going to provide momentum into the semis.
“There’s a lot of adrenaline around here,” Husak said after defeating the West team.
But it was not enough to carry them to the finals.
After being up 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning, Iowa gave up four runs to give the East a 5-2 lead. Husak’s squad was able to tack on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, but that is where their momentum stopped.
The East region will take on the winner of Southwest (Texas)/Southeast (North Carolina) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN 2.
That game was still in progress at deadline Tuesday night.
Attempts to reach Husak after his team was knocked from the tournament Tuesday night were unsuccessful.