SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — The Grambel Hawks have only been playing baseball for a year. The Philadelphia youth program is really known for football. But that could be changing.
On Tuesday the team visited the Little League World Series. The visit was, in part, inspired by the desire to be a part of history as two “big city” teams make a big splash: a team from Philadelphia with female pitching phenom Mo’Ne Davis, and the Jackie Robinson team from Chicago.
For the kids from Philly, both teams are an inspiration.
Abdul Abur-Raviq,12, said of the pitching sensation, “I think it’s a big deal. I hear she is better that most of the guys out there.”
Their coach, George Harris, said that this is Little League’s “Jackie Robinson” moment.
“To see you can be successful wherever you are, being a boy or girl doesn’t matter,” Harris said.
Harris said seeing urban teams at the top of the baseball pack is creating a spike in enthusiasm for the sport in his community.
“In the inner city we don’t have many kids playing baseball, now everybody wants to be involved because they see what the team from Chicago is doing, what the girl from Philadelphia is doing. Now it makes them want to play even more,” Harris said.
As the kids take in the sight of Lamade Stadium, a place they had only seen on television before, their coaches hope they are imagining how bright the future can be.
“No matter where you are from you can always make it. As long as you try hard, have discipline and respect, you can go far,” Harris added.
Organizers said attendance is up approximately 10,000 people a day over 2013.