Despite paperwork that was approved in District and State tournaments won by the Havre de Grace Little League Junior Softball All-Stars, the team was disqualified Thursday in Connecticut.
Despite paperwork that was approved in District and State tournaments won by the Havre de Grace Little League Junior Softball All-Stars, the team was disqualified Thursday in Connecticut. (Courtesy of Julie Kitts)

What was supposed to be a memorable week for a group of Havre de Grace Little League softball all-stars turned into an evening of devastation and disappointment Thursday in Orange, Conn.

The Havre de Grace Junior Softball All-Stars made the trip to Connecticut early Thursday, only to be told that evening that the team was disqualified from the East Region Tournament due to an disagreement over league boundaries.

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Havre de Grace Little League released a statement on its Facebook page shortly after noon Friday.

It reads:

July 19, 2019 Statement From Havre de Grace Little League

Havre de Grace Little League is disappointed to report its 2019 Maryland Champion Junior Softball team, for 13 and 14 year old girls, is not being allowed to participate in the East Region Tournament this week that it qualified for by winning the state tournament.

Two girls on the team, because of a boundary disagreement between local and Maryland Little League officials, who approved their participation, and Little League officials at a Regional level, who did not, were ruled ineligible to be on the team. Those Regional Little League officials, with the support of Little League International officials ruled the whole team ineligible for the Regional tournament that began play Friday.

The two girls in question were approved for Little League All Star play representing Havre de Grace Little League in 2018 and again this season. Not until the team advanced to the Regional did any Little League official question their eligibility. Havre de Grace Little League, the only Little League program in Harford County, has long accepted players, with the blessing of Little League officials, from areas in the county outside of Havre de Grace.

The 2019 Little League Softball Rulebook says the following: “Each local Little League determines the actual boundaries of the area from within which it shall select players. The two girls in question have been approved not only for Tournament All Stars the past two seasons, but also have been regular season participants as well. Their names and addresses have been included on the regular season rosters information submitted to Little League as required before the start of the past two seasons.

We strongly disagree with the decision to disqualify our girls. And we are deeply saddened by the hurt these girls are dealing with because of the disagreement between adults at the local and State levels and the Little League Regional officials over a boundary dispute we thought was approved long ago.

We thank the greater Havre de Grace Little League community for its outpouring of support for these girls as they advanced to the East Region. We are disappointed for everyone involved with the team and for our community.

Don Crites, President Havre de Grace Little League

Ted Hendricks, Vice President – Softball Havre de Grace Little League

The Havre de Grace Junior All-Stars are Natalie Bucci, Audrey Grimm, Laura Hughes, Madison Johnson, Alysa Kaptain, Taryn Kitts, Delaney Mentzer, Tatyana Sanchez, Demetria Sarafis, Mischa Spencer, Lacey Swart, Brianna Walls, manager Chris Mentzer and coaches Fred Hughes and Jessica Pizarro.

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