When an umpire wants to indicate that a ball is foul, they raise their arms and extend their hands. Any sufficiently attentive seven-year-old could tell you this. The ump puts up the universal gesture for Calm down, it’s fine and it’s a foul ball and everything returns to its starting position. But what the umpire crew working the northwest regional final of the 2022 Little League World Series between teams from Bend North, Oregon and Bonney Lake, Washington presupposed was: maybe it’s not?
Here we have the umpire indicating that a probably fair ball hit by a Washington player was in fact foul, a sign that the Oregon defense reacted to by mostly chilling. Unfortunately, the runner on first just kind of kept motoring until he easily crossed home plate. The umpires reviewed the play—which itself seems nuts, these guys are like 12 years old—and ruled that not only was the ball fair (OK), but that the incorrect call of foul wasn’t relevant to the outcome (not OK). The mighty Oregon team will sadly have to end their very solid tournament on a dumb play out of their control.
“I was in disbelief. We just started going into planning mode — I was sure we were going to win that challenge,” Oregon coach Brett Hartlaub said. “It was a shocking way to end after some really good play by the dudes.” I agree! The dudes deserve better!