- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — Coaches on a Little League team filed a protest with the league after an umpire ordered the players to stop speaking Spanish during a state tournament game last week.

Coaches said the order demoralized the Methuen players and cost the team the game. National Little League spokesman Lance Van Auken said there’s no rule against players speaking Spanish on the field. But he said it’s too late to reverse the decision or the outcome of the game.

The umpire was concerned the coaches were “using a language other than English … to communicate potentially ‘illegal’ instructions to his players,” Mr. Van Auken said. “The umpire simply overstepped his authority, and there was no malicious intent.”

Methuen coach Chris Mosher said the incident happened July 26 during a Junior Little League game against Seekonk in Lakeville. Methuen was winning 3-1 when assistant coach Domingo Infante instructed the pitcher in Spanish to try to pick off a runner at second base. The umpire called timeout and decreed that only English could be spoken.

Mr. Infante then left the game in protest. Methuen lost 10-6.

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