When Venezuela pulled off a last-minute upset to defeat the Dominican Republic in their Little League World Series playoff game, they had many reasons to celebrate. Venezuela had been trailing the notoriously tough Dominican Republic team, and it wasn’t until Venezuela player Omar Romero hit a huge triple that their victory was clinched. The win brought the team one step closer to that coveted Little League World Series title.
While Romero and his team gleefully celebrated their big win, the Domincan Republic pitcher Edward Uceta couldn’t help but break down in tears in the grass near the mound. As wonderful as the win was for Venezuela, it was just as heartbreaking for the Dominican Republic team, and specifically Uceta, who threw that last, fateful pitch.
As Uceta mourned the loss, something really beautiful happened: the coaches and players from the opposing team went out to comfort him, offering hugs and consolation. Check out the moment in this video:
With the support of his opponents, Uceta was able to pick himself up and participate in the post-game handshake, where the good sportsmanship displays continued. Romero and Uceta embraced in an emotional hug, with Romero comforting the still visibly upset pitcher.
“Edward has a big heart,” Venezuela manager Alexander Ballesteros told ESPN about the pitcher’s emotional response to the loss. “It was sad. It could have happened to anyone.”
Dominican Republic manager Jose Cordero was touched by the support shown for his team’s star pitcher. He agreed that Uceta’s display of emotion was consistent with how much he cares. “That little boy has a very big heart,” Cordero said. “If I talk too much about him, I start to tear up.”
Congratulations to both teams for a job well done, and thanks to these little league players for proving that good sportsmanship is still alive and well.