Families Sacrifice to Come to World Series

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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- All the players Newswatch 16 spoke with this week at the Little League World Series tell us making it to South Williamsport is a dream come true, but that dream is not only for the kids -- it's for their parents too.

Most of these kids play tournaments all summer to try to make it to South Williamsport. Their families travel with them so, of course, they want to come to the Little League World Series. For some families, that involves a lot of travel and a lot of money.

The Little League team from Tokyo, Japan got in one last practice before its big game. The team is playing well at the Little League World Series and brought lots of family members to cheer them on.

The families traveled almost 7,000 miles from Tokyo to South Williamsport.

Kayoko Tomii's son is a pitcher on the team. Miki Aso Grego lives in Blossburg and translated for Kayoko.

"She needs to take two weeks off because she works. So she needs to ask her colleagues to work for her."

Parents from the Little League team from Emilia, Italy were in the same boat. They traveled all over Europe this summer to watch the kids play. Now they've made the 4,000 mile trip to South Williamsport.

"We're really glad to be here but, of course, it's the money. But it's OK. It's better to spend the money this way than any other," said Filippo Tiburtini.

Even some United States teams had a long trip. Lufkin, Texas is near Houston and it's not a simple car ride away.

"I think the biggest sacrifice is time and, of course, money, but you don't even think about that when you get this far," said Diana Kovar.

One thing the international teams can count on is support from people here in the United States.

Yumiko Takanashi lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey but grew up in western Japan. She brought the team Japanese pastries and is cheering them on in person.

"We're always watching the TVs to support the Japan team. But one day I really want to come to really support the Japanese teams," said Takanashi.

The family members we spoke with tell us all of the sacrifices are worth it and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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