By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
District bars nine Manteca Little League players from postseason
Little League

None of the nine players from the Manteca Little League majors team embroiled in a controversy over the legitimacy of their placement will be eligible to play baseball during the Little League postseason.

The Manteca Little League Major Dodgers, led by coach Brodie Downs, was formally excluded from the Tournament of Champions by Little League District 67 for violating the regulation that requires a draft of all players, and a decision was recently handed down stating that none of the players that skipped the traditional draft process will be eligible for the Little League International Tournament – meaning that they cannot be placed onto the Manteca Little League All-Star team.

Neither of the decisions – the TOC exclusion coming from the district level and the All-Star ban from the Little League International Charter Committee in Williamsport, Pennsylvania – can be challenged, effectively ending the season of the majority of the team that league and organization officials say ran afoul from the rules from the very beginning.

According to Downs, he went to the board with the proposal to field his team and went through all of the steps necessary to ensure that his moves were legal, it’s the players that are being hurt.

“These are 12-year-old boys that deserve a voice or a fight for what they earned,” Downs said. “This is the most brutal situation for the kids.”

According to Downs, it was the former Manteca Little League President that signed off on his proposal to bring nine kids from Ripon – which is in the Manteca Little League boundary – into the league and place them all on his team without going through the necessary draft process as outlined in the Little League rulebook.

Only three of the available 12 spaces on the team were filled through the draft process. According to the most recent ruling by the Little League International Charter Committee – which had the ability to punitively revoke Manteca Little League’s charter, effectively ending baseball next season for hundreds of kids – the three players that were added to the team in accordance with all rules will not be prohibited from selection to the All-Star Team if they are so chosen.

Little League International declined to comment publicly on the charges against the team, or the process of investigation that was being utilized to determine their eligibility, and instead said that communication would be between the organization and the Interim League President – who stepped in after the resignation of the person who signed off on Downs’ request to import his team into the league.

While the Tournament of Champions, or TOCs, which is currently ongoing, is a district-wide tournament that includes all of Manteca’s Little League organizations as well others from Lathrop, Patterson, Salida and Tracy, it’s the All-Star teams that are playing for Little League baseball’s biggest trophy – a trip to represent their region at the Little League World Series in Williamsport in August.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.