little league world series

Local Little League president says he was pressured to remove undefeated team, investigation needed

President says a representative at Little League International threatened to remove four teams from the tournament if Fossil Creek wasn't removed

NBC Universal, Inc.

There was always one big goal for a group of North Texas boys who love baseball.

"It was all of our dreams to play in the Little League World Series," said Cooper Neumann, a player.

"We didn't even lose game all season. And we just got kicked out," said Paul Peluso, a player.

NBC 5 first reported how other teams complained when this particular team was beating everyone. Parents of other players told us it was unfair how skilled this team was compared to their kids. Almost every game was a shutout.

One other team was so mad that they took their second-place trophy and threw it in the trash, convinced that this first-place team shouldn't be allowed to play and that they were the real first-place winners.

However, no one could cite a rule the undefeated team broke, and they met all qualification requirements. 

"It was the first time they'd ever been (played) together. They were all stars. And everything that was brought up was put in front of a committee at what at Williamsport and voted to clear our team," said Cyle Brossman, the team's assistant coach.

NBC 5 was provided with documents showing Little League International found no wrongdoings, but days later, the local league president, Derek Rush, received a phone call from Little League International.

"I was told that they received more information that again questioned our qualifications," said Rush.

He was never told what that information was or what rules were in question, but he said he was given an ultimatum. 

"Voluntarily remove the team from the tournament or risk the other four teams removal as well," Rush shared with us. "In fact, they specifically told me to use the term 'voluntary' when I sent email. "

"They were too good. A team didn't want to lose. They had been in the league for a long time. They've got a lot more money than Fossil Creek does, their leagues do," said Greg Harper, the team's coach.

We contacted Little League International about this again, and they sent us the following statement.

While a protest was received by the Little League International Tournament Committee, numerous complaints were also received both from within the Fossil Creek Little League and from other leagues within the district. During this time, while the Tournament Committee reviewed the information provided in the protest, the Little League International Region and Operations team had discussions with the Fossil Creek Little League Board, and ultimately, the Fossil Creek Little League Board voluntarily withdrew the team from the tournament. Little League International remains committed to continuing to work with the district and local officials to support a positive, equitable experience for all players and considers this issue closed as the state tournament continues to progress.

When asked about the specific rules the team broke, they told us, "It is Little League International’s policy regarding these matters not to disclose the specific details of any cases brought before the Little League International Tournament Committee."

Fossil Creek League President Rush didn't know what new allegation caused this development and why. He also told us, "Further investigation by Little League needs to happen."

"We want something to be able to tell our 12-year-old kids. 'Hey, you guys played great ball. You've never lost a game. We can't tell you why you're not playing anymore, though.' We have nothing to tell a bunch of 12-year-olds that are disappointed," said Brossman.

Unfortunately, it's too late for these boys who watched the games go on without them. But supporters from the team are popping up across the country, asking for answers they feel the team deserves.

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