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Rhode Island LLWS Team Accused of Stealing Signs by Opposing Manager

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

New Hampshire's Ryan Dutton bats during a Little League regional tournament baseball game against Massachusetts, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Bristol, Conn. New Hampshire won 3-0. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

Pat Dutton, the manager of Goffstown (New Hampshire Little League team), has accused New England Region champion Barrington (Rhode Island) of stealing signs during the regional tournament, per Tim MacLean of the New Hampshire Union Leader:

"You can see [runners on second base] leaning in, looking in and they're doing hand gestures to their kid [at the plate] indicating what kind of pitch it is and where it's located. You can do that in big league ball, but in Little League, it's unsportsmanlike, it's dishonorable and it's disgusting. They did it the whole tournament and got away with it, and now that's what's representing New England in the Little League World Series. It's just a bad look."

Barrington Little League issued a statement to Christopher Gavin of Boston.com denying the allegations.

"The article in the Union Leader is unfortunate, and its premise false," the statement read. "We hold our coaches, players and teams to the highest standards, and do not coach or condone unsportsmanlike behavior of any kind."   

The Goffstown manager told MacLean he noticed Barrington stealing signs during his team's 2-1 semifinals victory last Thursday. Barrington came back to defeat Goffstown 6-4 in the regional final Saturday, earning a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Dutton added: 

"It's just frustrating to see teams and kids having to go about it that way when clearly they were playing better than we were. They didn't have to do that. That's something these kids don't learn on their own. That's something that they're taught. They're coached to do that. 

Obviously, the team condones it, they coach it, and, personally, that's something that I'm completely against. Little League is supposedly against it, but you wouldn't know it this week."

Little League has a rule prohibiting sign stealing. Umpires who notice it taking place are supposed to eject the players and coaches involved. No ejections occurred in either Barrington-Goffstown game, so it appears the umpires did not feel they had sufficient evidence to back up Dutton's allegations. 

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