Hazleton team beams with pride at Little League World Series

Little League World Series

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV)  The Little League World Series wraps up this weekend in South Williamsport.  Teams from across the globe are competing for the World Championship.  Today a local team had a chance to take the field and show off their skills.  Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Garrison has more on how the Little Leaguers had the chance to fulfill one of their dreams. 

 Players from the Hazleton Little League Challenger Division stepped up to the plate and had some fun…. hitting the ball, circling the bases, scoring runs. Volunteer Stadium was packed with fans and players from the Little League World Series, here to watch the team from Hazleton play at the home of Little League baseball.

“I know the player’s family, it is dear to their heart.  It is the greatest feeling that you can have” said Ed Shoepe, Hazleton Little League President.

Hazleton native and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon sent along a special video message to the players.  The teams were encouraged to follow the Little League Pledge, to play fair, and do their best.  

“This Challenger Division demonstrates that every child should have an opportunity to put a Little League Uniform on and come out onto a Little League field and enjoy the benefits and the fun of playing baseball and softball with their friends, said Stephen Keener, Little League President and CEO

The players say it’s hard to choose their favorite part of their game with the Challenger team from Evansville, Indiana.

“To hit and to be with a group of people I am with right now.  It was exciting to be here, a once and a lifetime opportunity to come,” said a very proud Brett Evancho, Hazleton Little League First Baseman.

“It was very fun.  We did amazing out there” noted Carlos Cespedes, Hazleton Little League Catcher..  …

The spirit of Little League baseball could be felt in the stands, as fans from both sides cheered on the players.

In addition to their friends and family in the stands, Little Leaguers from all over the world watched the Challenger game, including teams from Canada, Mexico, even Australia.

After the game, the players traded handshakes, fist bumps, and smiles, lots of smiles, as they shared their mutual love of baseball.

“When we first realized we were going to the Little League World Series they were so excited.  But now they can start school and they can take this with them for the rest of their life that they played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pennsylvania.  And being from Pennsylvania it is an amazing honor,” said Joe Drauschak, Hazleton Little League Manager.

The Little League Challenger Division provides opportunities to more than 30,000 children with physical and intellectual challenges in more than 900 leagues worldwide.

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