WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- The first Little League Classic took place on Sunday in Williamsport.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates played at Historic Bowman Field.
Eyewitness News was there as the field was made major league ready, construction started back in March. New dugouts, sprinkler system, dirt, grass, seeding, all leading to this weekend.
Members of the community love how the game is putting Williamsport in the national spotlight.
“To have major league teams here in Williamsport, it brings a lot of great things to the community, and just the excitement around town has been awesome,” says Sara Shott, a spectator.
The idea behind the Little League Classic is to promote youth baseball and softball while enjoying a professional baseball game.
And little league players and their families weren’t the only ones who got to enjoy the historic game. Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, was there to experience the inaugural event.
The last time the governor was in Williamsport for the Little League World Series was two years ago. Governor Wolf says the MLB Little League Classic is a long time coming.
“Surprised it took so long to do this, but it’s a wonderful thing for baseball, a wonderful thing for the kids, and it’s a great thing for Pennsylvania,” says Governor Wolf.
He tells Eyewitness News that while his favorite major league team is the Philadelphia Phillies, he was rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday.
The Pirates beat the Cardinals six to three, but before the pros hit the field, lots of fans decided to catch the little league players in action.
Ballplayers from the Cardinals and Pirates arrive has heroes to many at the Little League World Series. Fans shaking hands and asking for autographs before the big leaguers head in to watch some of the series.
The team from Texas knows they won their game with major league players in the stands.
“It just pushed me to do better than normally because they might remember me or something, so I wanted to play better than I have been,” says Christian Mumphery, center fielder for the Southwest Region team.
“It was really fun,” says Collin Ross, pitcher for the Southwest Region team. “I wanted to pitch good for all of the pitchers that were there so they could tell their coach about me.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle used to manage a minor league team in Williamsport at nearby Bowman Field, now renovated for the major league game to be played for the little leaguers.
“It is good to be back, good to be a part of this,” says Hurdle. “It is a beautiful day and a beautiful format, representing the game of baseball in a glorious and wonderful way.”
Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn played in the Little League World Series in 1999 for his team from Indiana. He returns as a major leaguer and as someone the young players can look up to.
“It is fun that is for sure,” says Lynn.
Just a few hours before the game, Eyewitness News asked some of the little leaguers a question: If you had a chance to interact with one of the major league baseball players what would you ask them, what would you say?
“Probably in right field how do you chuck the ball so well,” says Tyler Spiteri, right fielder for the Australia Region team. “And how to rope a home run.”
“How do you adjust to atmospheres and the media and all that?” says Ethan Treble, first basemen for the Australia Region team. “And if you lose, how do you come back and do a press conference?”
The Pirates manager says the teams are looking forward to playing in the MLB Little League Classic.
“This goes back to your roots,” says Hurdle. “Some kids all they ever wanted was to play on a field with green grass. Everybody who played little league had a dream of getting to Williamsport. This is as close as some of us will ever get.”