A Pennsylvania judge last week ended the Needville Little League team’s dreams of playing in the Little League World Series.
The Lycoming County judge on Tuesday denied the team’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed them to play in the World Series, according to an article in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.
The Needville Little League team was one of several sent home from regional tournaments earlier this month after a coach tested positive for coronavirus, according to a Facebook post. Needville and the Tulsa Little League team joined forces in court to sue Little League Baseball Inc. over the decision.
Messages sent to the Needville Little League social media page and a call to the team’s manager seeking comment about the judge’s decision went unreturned as of Monday afternoon.
“Unfortunately the court found that although Little League International acted arbitrarily, there was not enough time and staff to add two teams to the tournament,” the team wrote on its Facebook page. “Even though we believe that to be untrue, that is what the judge ordered. Therefore, we will not get to compete this year in the LLWS. Thank you for all your prayers and positive comments and support. We will regroup and hit them harder.”
The team’s travails had become something of an area rallying cry ever since they were sent home from the Southwest Regional Tournament, set to play the Louisiana state champion.
U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, for instance, weighed in on the matter, tying it into right-wing culture war talking points.
“Our country lets illegal immigrants pour across our border without a test, but our own citizens can’t play a baseball game outside because one coach gets a positive test?” he wrote.
The Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters also honored the team before a double-header game against the Albuquerque Isotopes last week at Constellation Field. The minor league team hosted the group and members of the team also threw out the first pitch.
The Little League World Series began Thursday in Pennsylvania, according to the Sun-Gazette. The organization held the 16 team event after canceling the series in 2020 because of the pandemic, according to the newspaper.
Attorneys for the Needville and Tulsa Little League teams sued the national organization on Aug. 12, seeking late entry into the tournament, according to the newspaper.
While denying the teams’ request for a temporary injunction, the Lycoming County judge was somewhat mixed on the facts of the case, according to the Sun-Gazette.
The judge decided the teams made an initial case that the decision to disqualify them was arbitrary and capricious, but didn’t meet the requirements for a preliminary injunction, according to the newspaper.
It is not clear what the next steps for the Needville Little League team might be now.