Venezuela’s Omar Romero stroked a walk-off triple Monday night in Williamsport to lift his team past the Dominican Republic. As the winning run crossed the plate, members of the Venezuelan coaching staff rushed toward Edward Uceta, the losing pitcher. They were soon joined by Romero in consoling the crestfallen Uceta. It was sportsmanship at its finest.
Uceta, a 4-foot-8 sparkplug, has been an exciting player all tournament and he’s obviously earned the respect of his competitors.
“Edward has a big heart. It was sad,” Venezuela manager Alexander Ballesteros said after his team’s win. “It could have happened to anyone. It could have happened to our own ‘Little [Jose] Altuve’ here, [Romero].”
Perhaps I’m getting soft in my old age, but the feel-good vibes of the Little League World Series — even if some of the classiness is forced — has been a nice palate cleanser. And it’s tough to admit this because there’s nothing more fun than ridiculing the heinous umpiring and somewhat exploitive vibe that usually permeate the event.