It was over before it began.
District 64 Little League learned in the 11th hour that its ad hoc 50-70 tournament team — which was to be the Davis Wolf Pack travel ball squad — has lost its waiver to compete in the Section 1 tourney this weekend in Concord.
The ruling was handed down Thursday night, appealed by District 64 officials, and the revoking of privileges was upheld Friday by the same Little League West official who had granted the waiver in the first place.
The Wolf Pack was disqualified when it was determined they had failed to play the required 12 games in Little League-sanctioned settings.
“It’s a huge disappointment,” Wolf Pack manager Tyler Gibson told The Enterprise via email. “Coaches, parents and, more importantly, players were all really looking forward to this.”
The first-year division of Little League embraces kids ages 11 to 13 and has the teams play on fields with 50-foot pitching distances and 70-foot base paths.
Under-12 Little League fields are 46 feet from pitching rubber to home plate with 60 feet between bases. Junior League (13- and 14-year-olds) dimensions are “normal baseball:” 90-foot base paths and 60-feet, 6-inch pitching standards.
Little League of America urged its districts to get involved with 50-70 baseball this spring, but few Little Leagues responded. There were no teams in District 64, but, according to Davis LL President Steve Olney, everyone in the region was urged to put postseason teams together.
When no other Little League in District 64 came forward with an interest in fielding a 50-70 team for the section tournament, Olney had an offer from Gibson to have his travel-ball team — on which all of the players are age-appropriate — to represent the district.
Olney said there were “feelers” sent through Davis Little League and District 64 about 50-70, “but no takers.” Olney, District President Mike Pappa and Gibson then worked to make the Wolf Pack eligible.
After the Davis boys were accepted and they were put in the online Section 1 tournament brackets, word came that all the work was for naught.
“I thought we had dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s,” Olney continued.
Olney believes the 50-70 concept — to be called Intermediate League — will replace the majors division in Davis and throughout Little League.
But there’s obviously work to do in how it’s going to be administrated and advertised in the future.
Notes: According to Gibson, Little League West official Jim Gerstenslager granted the District 64/Wolf Pack waiver, but then became the person who pulled it. … Gibson says the Wolf Pack will continue its weekend-tournament play, but assistant coach Mike Finerty says “given the green light, many practices later, investments in uniforms, paperwork gathering and rearranging summer schedules, it is unfortunate to get the change in direction at the bewitching hour.” Finerty added: “Only if this (was) viewed as a positive from the powers that be would we (have) even considered participating.” … Olney, for the past three years president of DLL, will leave office this summer. The league’s board and officers will be elected Thursday.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.