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The fix is in at the LLWS according to one of Iowa’s players who was picked up on a hot mic.
Iowa (Midwest Region) held a 6-3 lead over Washington (Northwest Region) in the sixth and final inning in an elimination game over the weekend. With two outs and a full count, Iowa’s pitcher threw what he and everyone else thought was a strike to end the game.
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The umpire disagreed, which led Iowa’s coach to visit the mound and that’s when one of Iowa’s players suggested the umpire purposefully missed the call just to add drama to the game for ESPN.
“It’s for ESPN so they can come back. That’s because ESPN likes it, it’s all ESPN,” the Iowa player said to his team’s pitcher and coach.
ESPN hot mic catches Little Leaguer blaming bad call on ESPN fixing the #LLWS 😆 pic.twitter.com/svPSWfroul
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) August 22, 2022
As you noticed at the end of the clip, the very next pitch was called a strike when it was well off the plate. Karl Ravech, who was announcing the game for ESPN, made a comment that the pitch was “more off than the ball four” call that the team was complaining about.
Little League World Series umpires shouldn’t have strike zones like we see in MLB, but there’s also a reason these umpires are calling games for kids and not behind the plate at professional games.
Iowa went on to win the elimination game over Washington shortly thereafter before beating the Mountain region team the very next day. The Midwest kids will get the loser of West vs. Southwest in their next matchup.