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Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle gives incredible speech after loss (Video)

Dave-Belisle-speechThe worst thing about the Little League World Series is watching young kids deal with the agony of defeat. Rhode Island coach Dave Belisle made losing a little less difficult with his amazing speech after his team suffered a heartbreaking 8-7 loss against Illinois on Monday night.

Belisle, who coaches the All-Stars from the town of Cumberland, had some inspirational words for his 12-year old players. In an era where youth sports coaches take winning far too seriously, Belisle was a breath of fresh air.

“There’s no disappointment in your effort, in the whole tournament, in the whole season. It’s been an incredible journey,” Belisle began. “Look at the score — 8-7, 12-10 in hits. We came to the last out. We didn’t quit. That’s us. That’s us.

“The only reason why I’ll probably end up shedding a tear is because this is the last time I’m gonna end up coaching you guys. But I’m gonna bring back with me, and the coaching staff is gonna bring back, and you guys are gonna bring back something that no other team can provide — that’s pride.”

Belisle tried to explain to the team that they were responsible for so much excitement in their town and the entire New England region. While that may be difficult for young kids to grasp right after a loss, they’ll appreciate it over time.

“We’re one of the best teams in the world. Think about that for a second — the world,” Belisle added. “We need to go see our parents because they’re so proud of you.

“I love you guys. I’m gonna love you forever. You’ve given me the most precious moment of my athletic and coaching career, and I’ve been coaching a long time. I’m getting to be an old man. I need memories like this. I need kids like this. You’re all my boys.”

If his speech was any indication, any parent whose kid has played for Belisle is lucky. The world is filled with jackasses who have no idea how to handle young children playing sports. Belisle represents the opposite end of the spectrum.

Little League coach Alan Beck sues his own player for celebrating a win

Little-League-helmetStop me if you’ve heard this one before — a 14-year-old Little League player is being sued by his own coach, who claims he was injured when the boy recklessly threw his helmet in celebration. Since I’m fairly confident you’ve never heard that before, allow me to continue.

Joe Paris, the father of the boy (and in this case the defendant), told KCRA in California on Tuesday that his teenaged son has been named in a civil summons filed in Placer County Superior Court. The boy’s former coach, Alan Beck, contends that he “carelessly threw a helmet, striking Plaintiff’s Achilles tendon and tearing it.” Paris said he thought the lawsuit was a joke at first.

“At first I thought it was joke,” he said. “Now, I think it’s absurd.”

Paris said the play occurred when his son was racing toward home plate to score the winning run in a Lakeside Little League game last spring. Like many MLB players have done in similar situations, he threw his helmet in celebration. Now, Beck is seeking $500,000 for pain and suffering and another $100,000 for lost wages and medical bills.

Beck’s attorney Gene Goldsman shed some light on the suit in a phone call with KCRA on Wednesday morning.

“I don’t think the boy meant to harm him,” Goldsman said. “But, this wasn’t a part of the game. A guy who volunteers his time to coach should not be subjected to someone who throws a helmet in the manner that he did. What the kid did, it crossed the line.”

Unless the boy fired the helmet in anger at his coach, we’re pretty confident he didn’t cross the line. While a legal expert told KCRA that children can be sued for their actions in the state of California, he doesn’t expect Beck to have an easy time proving intent to injure on a baseball field.

“If he deliberately hurt somebody, then it’s a stronger case and a stronger case that his parents could be held liable, but kids playing a kids’ game in a contact sport — and baseball is a contact sport — that’s going to be a tougher case,” Bill Portanova explained.

I think we have enough information here to call this one of the most ridiculous lawsuits ever filed. Hopefully a judge feels the same way.

H/T Hardball Talk

LLWS umpire has the greatest strike call known to mankind (Video)

The umpire who worked home plate in the Little League World Series game between Australia and Puerto Rico may be my favorite person on the planet right now. If you want to know how to call a strike, just ask this guy.

That type of raw enthusiasm proves that this gentleman deserves to be calling games for kids. The batter may have been terrified the first time he heard it, but I’m sure everyone grew to love the passion by the end of the game. And if the strike call wasn’t for you, take a look at the way he fired the ball back to the pitcher’s mound.

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Petaluma little leaguers get royal treatment at A’s game (Video)

Members of Petaluma Little League’s All-Star team that played in the Little League World Series got to meet the Oakland A’s on Friday prior to the team’s game against the Red Sox.

Petaluma came within a game of reaching the Little League World Series championship game, and they had the support of the A’s along the way. The A’s players would frequently watch Petaluma’s games from their clubhouse TV.

Outfielder/DH Johnny Gomes once played for Petaluma Little League in Northern California and even helped pay for the team’s trip to Williamsport, Pa. He wore the team’s T-shirt before the game, and he planned to give them some A’s gear.

The Little League players got to shag some balls during batting practice and even play catch on the big-league field. What’s crazy is that the A’s players seemed just as excited to meet the little leaguers as the youngsters were to meet the pros.

The A’s ended up winning the game 20-2 and pounding 19 hits. Maybe the Petaluma players were their lucky charm.

Mom lost her job to watch son play for Little League World Series berth

Playing for a berth in the Little League World Series is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Parents know how rare that opportunity is for their children, so many of them go to great lengths to make sure they don’t miss a moment of the action. However, few have to make the same sacrifice that Billie Ann Tomei has made.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (via CBS San Francisco), Billie Ann is the mother of Cole and wife of Petaluma National all-stars coach Trevor Tomei. She is an office manager for a CPA, and when she asked her boss if she could take time off to travel to the West Regional tournament in San Bernardino, he was not very understanding.

“(My boss) wouldn’t let me take time off,” Tomei explained. “He told me, ‘If you go, write yourself your last check.’ So I wrote myself my last check.”

Parents have to juggle a number of issues when traveling with their son’s teams — including travel arrangements and leaving other children at home who are in school — but the fact that a mother had to make that type of decision just to watch her son compete is pretty disappointing.

Petaluma went on to lose to Tennessee in the U.S. Championship game, but I would imagine Tomei does not regret her decision. Special moments at the Little League World Series like this one are not something you want to miss out on as a parent. Losing her job to witness a once in a lifetime opportunity for her son is likely a decision Tomei is at peace with.

Photo via petalumanational.org

Canadian Little Leaguer Thomas Neal makes incredible diving catch (Video)

Whether the Little League World Series interest you or not, you have to admit the fact that kids who are 12 and 13 years old can make plays like the one you see above is amazing. During Friday’s first-round game between Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, center fielder Thomas Neal made an incredible diving catch that would be a top play on Sportscenter even if a Major Leaguer had made it. Neal went completely horizontal to preserve a 10-8 lead in the third inning of a game where runs were not exactly a rare commodity.

Amazing catches like this one that Josh Reddick made or this one that Gregor Blanco came down with are rare in the MLB, let alone at the Little League Level. The difference is the big leaguers get paid to make incredible plays. Little Leaguers lay out for the love of the game and nothing more.

H/T Big League Stew

Little League coach banned from 2012 World Series for having alcohol on Williamsport grounds

Phillip Johnson, the manager of the 2011 Warner Robins American Little League team, led his youngsters on a memorable run in Williamsport at the Little League World Series in 2011. Unfortunately, he will not be able to do the same in 2012 because of a lapse in judgment. According to the Telegraph in Georgia, Johnson has been banned from the 2012 tournament for having alcohol at the Williamsport complex during the 2011 tournament.

Assuming he is being truthful, the toughest part about the situation is that Johnson never consumed nor opened any of the alcohol. In fact, he says a parent gave it to him as a gift and he threw it away.

“Little League found out, and obviously I made a bad decision,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I admitted it, and I regret it.”

Rules are rules, and alcohol is not allowed on the Williamsport grounds during the LLWS for obvious reasons. If the story is true, I can imagine the parent who gave Johnson the alcohol feels worse than anyone. He or she was trying to make a nice gesture and the results were unfortunate.

If it were me and I received a year-long suspension despite never having even taken a sip of the alcohol I was given, I’d be rummaging through the trash to get it back. Assuming it was something Johnson likes, he could at least save it and enjoy it from his couch at home during the 2012 LLWS.

Thanks to Prep Rally for passing the story along
Photo credit: Chris Gardner-US PRESSWIRE