NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — Excitement is growing in New Albany where the city’s little league baseball team is representing the Great Lakes region in the Little League World Series (LLWS).
It’s New Albany’s first time in the LLWS and the team’s first game was Thursday night in Williamsport, Penn. While the game was ultimately called early due to rain, with New Albany losing 4-3, spirits are high for families and supporters of the team.
“It’s very exciting, my son used to play for New Albany when he was younger. He’s 27 now and he said ‘Mom we never got that far’. But he was a pitcher and he loved it and he thinks it’s great,” Marci Robison said.
The Rusty Bucket in New Albany hosted a watch party. Nate Triplett, a general manager at the restaurant, said they expected an even busier Thursday evening than usual. He also said the restaurant plans to hold a watch party each time the team has a LLWS game.
“It’s great, everybody is excited, we’re happy to watch, we’re all going to be kind of hanging on the edge of our seats,” Triplett said. “We’re all very proud too. It’s super exciting, it’s not something that happens very often.”
A watch party was also held at the McCoy Center. It was originally supposed to be outdoors but was moved inside over weather concerns. While many are rooting for the team from their hometown, some traveled to Williamsport.
“This is a memory that all these kids over here in Williamsport are going to remember for the rest of their lives. Be a bond that’s created that will last forever,” said Greg Ecleberry, a former coach of the New Albany little league team.
Ecleberry coached the team for five years, including 2018 when the Eagles won the state championship. He said making the trip to Williamsport was an easy decision.
“The fact that our little league team is in the LLWS in Williamsport, there’s no way I was going to miss this opportunity to go over there and cheer them on and be a part of that environment so I’m super excited about it,” Ecleberry said.