To offer up a little more perspective, the umpire, who was likely a volunteer by the way, called a ball on a close pitch to the previous batter. A strike would’ve ended the game. After that questionable call (not saying it was bad; in fact, I think it was off the plate) from the home plate umpire, Iowa shortstop Mason McFate immediately told his coach his thoughts. “Whoever’s pitching this at ESPN, so [Washington] can come back.” Bold call, considering his team was up 6-3 with only one out left before the end of the game.
You could make the argument that since this is Little League, the umpire should have been more forgiving to the pitchers on borderline calls. It’s tough to throw balls over the plate consistently at that age. So, maybe a few inches off the plate would still fall in the strike zone. However, that’s exactly what happened on the first pitch to the next batter. You can see it in the video. That breaking ball was clearly off the outside, yet it was called a strike. And wouldn’t you know it, Iowa won the game 6-3.
It was just awesome to see the kid this passionate about the game. Sure, you’d love to see him back up his teammates a little more and convince them to move on from the call like the coach did, but we shouldn’t expect that from a 12-year-old. All I know is that we’ve all been there, kid. Whether it be 49ers’ fans calling BS after some questionable officiating decisions in the 2013 NFC Championship Game, Saints fans claiming the 2018 NFC Championship Game was rigged after that no-call on Nickell Robey-Coleman, or me at a sports bar after my third six-game parlay in as many weeks fails to hit, every sports fan has assumed the worst and blamed the powers that be for scripting the game at some point. As McFate would have it, Iowa held on for the win, though. Most of the time, it ends in heartbreak. At least he didn’t have to deal with that.