Smithfield All-Stars return home from the Little League World Series
SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WLNE) — An incredible summer has come to a close for the Smithfield All-Stars as they returned home Wednesday from Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Community members gathered at their home field in Deerfield Park for a hero’s welcome ahead of a parade scheduled for September 3.
The team got an escort after arriving back in the Ocean State from their run in the Little League World Series.
Players and community members both agreed it’s been a long journey, but it’s a journey no one is going to forget.
“They have dedicated their summer, we as parents, coaches, we have all dedicated our summer for this. And these kids practice three to four hours a day, every day, and never complain, “Heather Charlemange, the mother of left fielder Cameron Charlemange told ABC 6 News.
“Always showed up for practice, always goofed off, but they were pretty much determined from the start, so it means a lot to show hard work pays off,” Charlemange continued.
The All-Stars lost their game Tuesday night against California, but that didn’t hamper their return home, arriving to a celebration of their historic run over the summer.
“It felt like something I would never think of doing. I feel so tired right now,” said pitcher Conner Curtis
The All-Stars have been going non-stop all summer, but their hard work didn’t begin this year, it’s the product of a lifetime of preparation.
“This doesn’t happen by mistake, you have to put the work in,” said Smithfield Head Coach Eric Gibree.
“To see them from when they were six, seven, eight-years-old to now, it’s fantastic. It really is fantastic. They’re smart kids, they do well in school, they’re pretty well-behaved, as I watch them throw bottles of water at each other,” Gibree continued.
While the loss is heartbreaking, families are glad to have some time with their kids again.
“The whole time has been weird because we get snippets of time with them, and then they’re in batting practice or with the coaches so our time to communicate with them has been limited” Charlemange added.
For now, the All-Stars have middle school to worry about and getting back into the swing of things after an unforgettable summer.
“It’s absolutely crazy knowing that you have almost twenty-two thousand people just behind you watching your games,” said catcher Connor Queenan. “And just knowing that some many people are watching and supporting you, it just makes you feel really good.”
The celebration is set to continue with a parade scheduled for September 3 in Smithfield.