SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s not the way the Little League World Series was originally drawn up in the playbook.
Fans are not permitted to attend this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the teams are sequestered in large part from their friends and family, who are allowed to attend the Series.
Eyewitness News has more on how one team is adjusting to the new conditions off the field, as they compete for the championship on it.
The Little League World Series teams spend a lot of time away from the smaller crowds in a gated community in the college campus-like setting at International Grove.
Eyewitness News caught up with the team from Hamilton, Ohio on a practice field. They told Eyewitness News the new level of isolation, is a small price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Players and coaches from the West Side Little League in Hamilton, Ohio work hard to prepare for their next game. It is easy to see their determination on a practice field, not far from the World Series complex.
What you don’t see is their fans, family, or parents tagging along every step of the way.
“Not saying they have been enjoying staying away from their parents, but they enjoyed the time when they can be kids. We are confined in a space, it’s gated up there, but they can do a lot of things. They can swim, play on the playground, play ping-pong, stuff like that. They are enjoying themselves,” West Side manager Ken Coomer said.
Coaches say the isolation helps to keep the team focused on baseball. The Ohio state champions say they like their chances against other great teams from across the country.
“I think we have a good chance of winning. But that Michigan team, they are pretty good. But our defense, our hitting, our fighting, we have solid chances,” second baseman Gage Maggard said.
Despite the smaller crowds, the team says there is still a championship atmosphere in South Williamsport. And there is nothing little about how much fun they are having at the Little League World Series.
“I am having so much fun. Like after the first game, I was so hyped that we won, and I am just loving it,” center fielder Krew Brown said.
Eyewitness News asked Maggard if reaching the Series was a dream come true.
“Not yet. If I make it to the World Series like we did, I want to win the whole thing. That would be a crazy dream come true,” Maggard said.
As that quest for the Little League World Series championship plays out on the field, leadership at the complex continues to do their part to keep the teams safe in the shadow of the pandemic.
The Little League World Series continues through next weekend. The championship game is set for Sunday, August 29th.