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The Kaiserslautern Military Community’s Little League Baseball entrant in the EMEA regional tournament in Kutno, Poland, has been disqualified.

Manager Gary Harrington said Sunday that Little League officials determined that three players who are based in Stuttgart, Germany, are ineligible to play for the KMC team because they belong to another community – even though Stuttgart didn’t have enough players to field a team of their own.

“It was a total shock,” Harrington said. “And you have 11 players on this team who are in total shock.”

So the team from KMC – the two-time defending tournament champion – will be heading back to Germany on Monday.

Harrington said coaches thought the issue had been resolved months ago.

“We should have known this in April,” he said. And if the decision had been made then, KMC would have had more than enough players for the team to choose from in Kaiserslautern and Ramstein.

“We’re very disappointed,” he said.

“As it is, we only have eight players who are eligible and you have to have at least nine players to field a team.”

The American team had won its first game of the 12-team tournament, 1-0, over Italy on Friday. It then lost to Great Britain, 2-1, on Saturday. It was scheduled to play Poland on Sunday, but the game wasn’t played.

It had hoped to be playing in the tournament championship game next week with a berth for a spot at the Little League World Series in Williamsport on the line.

Harrington said the issue was appealed all the way up to Little League’s highest body as officials at various levels in the States weighed in.

The Little League Baseball tournament was the last of six EMEA regional tournaments with a KMC team entered this month. None of the six qualified for their respective baseball or softball World Series – the first time since 2005 that’s happened. In 2006, three teams qualified in different age divisions to go play in the States.

harrisk@estripes.osd.mil

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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