A controversial call in extra innings ended Bend North’s shot at the Little League World Series Thursday, falling in the Northwest Regional final to Washington, 3-2 in seven innings.
Bend North got on the board first in the top of the 3rd inning with a bases loaded walk followed by an RBI single to make it 2-0.
— Little League (@LittleLeague) August 12, 2022
Washington chipped away in the bottom of the 3rd with an RBI single to make it 2-1.
That’s where the score remained until the bottom of the 6th, which is the final inning in Little League baseball.
A solo home run tied the game at 2-2. Washington was then able to get a man to third with nobody out, but pitching and defense by Bend North kept Washington from scoring and the game went to extra innings.
— ESPN (@espn) August 12, 2022
The controversial end came in the bottom of the seventh. With a man on first, Washington hit a ball down the third baseline. The third base umpire appeared to signal the ball was foul, but the runner from first continued around the bases — waved around by his coach — and crossed the plate to score the winning run.
After looking at replay, the umpires ruled the ball was fair and the run counted.
The sequence generated a lot of response on the Central Oregon Daily News Facebook page as people debated what exactly happened.
“Hands up means ‘foul’ so all Bend players relaxed. Umpire’s body language after his call clearly implied he thought it was a foul ball and meant to say ‘foul’…he turned his back to the ball and casually walked towards the plate. It may have actually been fair but the non-verbal signal was the problem,” wrote Scott Crawford.
“Did the ump signal foul ball with his hands…but yelled fair ball with his mouth??? I’m so confused what happened that last play… tuff way to end a game,” wrote Anthony Harris.
“Once the umpire raises his arms calling foul ball that kills the play it should not be reviewable. Poor way to win or lose,” wrote Art Frost.
Others simply offered their congratulations to the Bend North players,
“They did awesome! Congratulations on a great season,” wrote Theresa Van Pelt.
“Great season boys. Nothing to be ashamed of. Great game,” wrote Brian Shenk.
In the opening game of the Northwest Regional, this same Washington team defeated Bend North 10-1. That forced Oregon into the elimination bracket — one loss away from going home. But Bend North scored a huge 12-2 win over Alaska on Sunday and followed that up with a tough 4-3 win over Idaho to advance to the title game.
The Little League World Series begins next Wednesday.