Local team impacted by Little League cheating scandal

PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) -- A cheating scandal has made its way to Little League baseball. The Jackie Robinson West Little League team of Chicago has been stripped of its US championship title. Authorities say the organization knowingly put players on their team who live outside the team's boundaries. The team must give up their wins from the 2014 international tournament.

This is especially tough news for the Pearland All Stars, who were eliminated from the tournament by the Jackie Robinson West Little League team.

The boys are taking it quite well. The parents and coaches are upset because things might have gone differently if Pearland was playing against a team that followed the rules.

They still love the game, and still wear their Southwest regional champion hats with pride. The players from Pearland's All Star team have fond memories of their Little League experience. News of the scandal involving Jackie Robinson West Little League has these players thinking about the boys on the team that eliminated Pearland.

McKane Groover of the Pearland All Stars said, "It wasn't like the kids' fault. All the people are saying the kids cheated, but they didn't. It was the adults and so I feel bad for the kids."

Little League officials stripped Jackie Robinson West of their US championship because the league expanded its boundaries and used at least one player who should not have been on the team. Jackie Robinson West sent Pearland home. Players here are left to wonder what if.

"It kind of hurts, you know, we had our dreams dashed by them and knowing they did not do what they were supposed to, it kind of hurts," said Josh Gabino with the Pearland All Stars.

Pearland coaches say the boys from Jackie Robinson West had nothing to do with the expanded boundary, but those boys are now paying the price for trouble brought on by the adults of that league.

Pearland All Star Coach Vince Gabino said, "It's a difficult thing for the kids. You feel sorry for them, but part of Little League is integrity, it's character, it's doing the right thing and unfortunately some adults didn't do the right thing."

The coaches say they also feel bad for the teams that never made it to Williamsport because they lost to Jackie Robinson West and will never get to experience the series at all.
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