August 11, 2015 / 10:59 PM / in 2 years

U.S. Little League baseball team drops legal action against sport's governing body

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago-area Little League baseball team stripped of its U.S. championship title last year over allegations of cheating has withdrawn a legal action against the sport’s governing body, though a lawyer for the team said on Tuesday it will keep fighting.

The Jackie Robinson West team from the south side of Chicago was stripped of the U.S. title in February for violating a rule that bars the use of players who live outside the team’s geographical boundaries.

Little League International said in a court document that only five of the team’s 13 players were eligible as they lived within Jackie Robinson West’s designated boundaries.

Lawyers representing the team filed a motion last Wednesday to withdraw its “petition for discovery before suit” with the Cook County Circuit Court. The petition had demanded more information from Little League International on how it made its decision.

Team attorney Victor Henderson said in a statement that legal disputes “like baseball games, don’t take place in one inning,” and that the “game is far from over.”

He also said Little League had been “deceitful and dishonest,” but did not say whether the team still planned to sue.

All of the players for Jackie Robinson West are black and some supporters have said racism was behind the Little League decision. The team is named for Jackie Robinson, who became the first black major league baseball player in the modern era by breaking the color barrier in 1947.

Last Thursday, the day after the team’s attorneys made the motion to withdraw, Little League International filed a document with the court calling the team’s petition “frivolous.”

The body also said that when questions were raised about whether the team was using ineligible players, Jackie Robinson West provided a back-dated map that expanded the boundaries given on a previous map.

Jackie Robinson West defeated Las Vegas in the U.S. title game before losing in the world championship to the team from Seoul, South Korea.

Little League spokesman Brian McClintock said the organization’s legal document “speaks for itself,” and had no further comment.

Reporting by Mary Wisniewski, editing by G Crosse

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