Holidaysburg soaks up the atmosphere | News, Sports, Jobs
The first game
Thursday: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania (Mid-Atlantic champion) vs. Pearland, Texas (Southwest champion), 7 p.m.
Venue: Howard J. Lamade Stadium, Williamsport, PA (about a 2-hour drive from Hollidaysburg)
At stake: The winner will face Massapequa, NY, Honolulu, Hawaii or Bonney Lake, Washington in a winners match on Monday, August 22 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. The loser faces either Nolensville, Tennessee or Middleborough, Mass. in a losers game Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
By Neil Rudel
Major League Baseball teams employ traveling secretaries to handle all behind-the-scenes arrangements.
Currently, Jim McGough could use one.
The manager of Little League team Hollidaysburg said he and his players have been inundated with messages – all positive – since winning the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship on Friday and moving to Williamsport for the Little League World Series.
“The children’s phones keep ringing” McGough said Sunday morning from Williamsport, where the team is gearing up for opening festivities. “It’s constant – the amount of texts and phone calls, and not just the community, but also the people who have moved. People from California, Minnesota see the kids on ESPN and feel the pride of being from Hollidaysburg It was awesome.
From what he’s heard and seen on social media, McGough is expecting a big crowd Thursday night for Hollidaysburg’s 7 p.m. home opener against Texas East (ESPN2). A few buses are organized.
“We’re anticipating this just because a lot of people have told us they’re coming,” he said. “People can’t wait to see the kids play and the experience of seeing a team so close to home play in the Little League World Series.”
McGough met ESPN on Sunday and the team attended the Williamsport Crosscutters game.
Players were showered with gear from sponsors such as Adidas and Easton. Adidas is filming a practice for promotional purposes.
“They’re getting new uniforms, hats, jackets, a new bat bag, catching gear – head to toe,” McGough said. “Everyone gets a bat that hasn’t come out yet. Children benefit from it. »
Teams are housed in dormitories, adding to the experience.
“Our (dormitory) neighbor is Japan,” McGough said. “The coolest thing so far is watching the kids interact with the international kids. They’re having so much fun learning about different cultures and languages because they swap shirts a lot.
Today brings the opening ceremonies and a parade. Former league greats Mariano Rivera and Rickey Henderson will be on hand.
“Everything is regimented on time” McGough said.
Each team receives a set number of VIP match tickets to ensure “we can get as many as possible as close as possible,” McGough said.
While the players are busy, McGough said parents and families, many of whom were in Bristol, Connecticut for a week, used the break to come home and recharge and “mow the grass.”
Families will begin to return in the coming days.
McGough and fellow coach Brad Hatch are using technology to scout the Texas team.
“All the games are on ESPN so we can go back and watch the games in the different regionals,” he said. “We go to Gamechanger (website) and look at stats and talk to people, word of mouth. We are going to take time to make sure we are very well prepared.
McGough wasn’t ready to name a starting pitcher, saying the rules allowed him to wait until the day before.
“We will probably decide in the next few days”, he said. “We’ll take the time to do our homework on Southwest (champion from Pearland, Texas) and see their strengths.”