KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The president of the Atlee Little League has released a statement following the disqualification of the Atlee Junior Softball All-Stars Saturday morning from the World Series final in Washington state.
Hours before facing a team from Ohio, the Atlee Juniors were disqualified because of an inappropriate post on Snapchat.
The post showed six members of the team giving the middle finger with the caption, “watch out host.”
Atlee Little League President Jamie Batten apologized for the social media post that disqualified the team from the championship.
"Atlee Little League is an organization made up entirely of volunteers with a proven track record of advancing our standards of sportsmanship in youth sports. We are deeply disappointed this social media post did not reflect the core values of Little League International or Atlee Little League. We expect Little League International will take the time to fully investigate the matter, and we will comply with this investigation by providing all information about unpleasant interactions including the social media post and the time leading up to that event—not all of which were on the part of those of the Atlee softball team. We desire to protect all youth who are recipients of inappropriate behavior both on and off the field, as we take very seriously our charge to impart the value of good sportsmanship.
It is important to remember the young women athletes involved in this unfortunate event are minors who are part of the fabric of this community that supported them and which they were honored to represent. Those involved feel very deeply this lapse in judgement, and wish your consideration for their privacy at this time. These young athletes are part of Atlee Little League. As all young athletes are trained to do, they will brush themselves off after a loss, and try again—after having learned a most valuable lesson."
Kevin Fountain, Director of Media Relations for Little League Baseball and Softball, said the Snapchat post led to the team's disqualification.
"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," Fountain said in a statement. "The Tournament Committee will advance the Host Region from Kirkland American/National Little League to participate in the championship game, scheduled for Saturday, August 5 at 3 p.m. eastern time in Kirkland, Wash."
The team had gone 3-0, beating their opponents by a combined score of 29-1 before heading to Washington for the World Series featuring teams representing Asia, Pacific, Central, and Canada among others.
Hanover county, and the Atlee area in particular, has become a hotbed for softball talent in Virginia. The Lady Raiders at Atlee High have won three straight state championships, and all four of the county high schools have strong programs. This team is trying to maintain that success.
This particular group has mostly been together for the better part of the last six years, winning four state championships in that time.
The team that Atlee beat in the semifinals from Kirkland, Washington, received the berth in the title game against Ohio and lost 7-1.
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