SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — It’s that time of year again for Little League baseball in South Williamsport.
Wednesday night, Williamsport welcomed the 16 teams from around the world in the annual “Grand Slam Parade.”
Last year at this time there was a tidal wave of support for the boys from Clinton County.
The Keystone Little League team from the Lock Haven area made it to the World Series, so the players know what it’s like to be one of the 16 teams that will be in the Grand Slam Parade, and play on the world’s stage.
It was the kind of thing kids can only dream of, and yet there they were. The boys from Keystone Little League representing the Mid-Atlantic region in last year’s World Series.
“It’s something not a lot of people get the chance to experience,” said Cole Reeder, 2011 Keystone Little League.
Reeder and his buddies were just having some fun on the baseball diamond in Mill Hall one year after capturing the hearts of little league fans all over the area.
“It was a great experience, and everyone was on our side when we went down there, definitely helped us win,” said Brandon Miller, 2011 Keystone Little League.
Tens of thousands of fans crowded around Lamade Stadium then to cheer on the Keystone team. Looking back on it now, coaches and parents are proud of the way the boys handled it, and the attention they’ve received since.
“As it comes around again, it’s kind of hard to imagine you were that team that’s out there,” said Justin Kline, 2011 Keystone Little League Coach.
“Thinking back on the crowds and how our kids handled the crowds, 43,000. I think they’ve all grown a lot,” said Jody Reeder, Cole’s mother.
In return for giving their hometowns something to cheer for, the city of Lock Haven gave the boys World Series rings. Brandon Miller still has a homerun ball.
Most of all, they still have each other and their love of the game.
“We’ll probably still get together like this when we’re 30 or something,” said Miller.
The Keystone team has been asked to throw out the first pitch at a World Series game next week.
As for the parade, there are 16 new teams from all over the globe.
It starts at 6 p.m., and already has a big crowd on hand.
The opening ceremonies are on Thursday.