If the umpire didn't call it, a parent should have respectfully brought it to the attention of the Tournament Director. We came across it in a 14U tournament last fall, and I am sure this girl plays high school softball. The NFHS lifted the ban on metal cleats last year which is beyond me. ASA has stood firm on its decision based on the safety factor. Maybe it's just me, but if I were going to permit metal anywhere, it would be where the skill level is elevated. IMHO, I think there are already enough sliding injuries at this age without adding a weapon. This past weekend I saw two severe sliding injuries. One girl broke her arm in two places and didn't realize the bone broke through the skin until she noticed it bleeding when she returned to the dugout. I would need my favorite show "Sport Science" to convince me that metal cleats give the softball player a much greater competitive edge that it would outweigh the risk of injury I still would have to make the call for my own athlete.
I find it rather ironic that when ASA came out against steel cleats and NFHS came out for the use of them, they both used exactly the same wording in prefacing their decisions, yet ASA ruled against their use while NFHS ruled in favor of thier use.
If these girls are going to play college ball, they will be wearing them then, they already have the ability to wear them in high school, why not let 18 and 18 gold in ASA wear them. Heck, in 18 gold, half to 3/4 of the players are returning college players anyway.
Question, are you absolutely sure the cleats were steel? I umpired a game where the coach and the parents in the stands kept insisting one girl had on metal cleats. I checked the girl and they were not metal. They were the changeable style and she had the plastic cleats on them. Even after I checked her and assured the coach they were not metal, the parents just refused to accept it and every time she would come up to bat the comments would start all over again.