Hundreds of people came out to give Loudoun’s Little League World Series contender one more cheer during a parade and festival in South Riding on Saturday.
The 10-12-year-old Loudoun South American All-Stars this year came only one game short of playing in the Little League World Series finals, after a history-making run that was watched and cheered on from across the state and region.
“The resolve of these kids, their hard work, their teamwork, and the way they cheered for one another—I’d just say that to all you guys that are out there that are in T-ball, AA, AAA, I’m jealous that we’re not back there with you guys, because most of us up here on this stage are moving on from youth baseball, and this is one heck of a wonderful community baseball league,” said team manager Alan Bowden during the Sept. 14 event.
Loudoun’s Little League World Series aspirations may not be over, either. The next age group down, the 8-10-year olds, had a season nearly as impressive, winning the state championship and competing in the regional championship that sends its winners to the World Series.
Both teams were part of a parade from the Dulles South Recreation and Community Center to Freedom High School, joined by the rest of the Loudoun South Little League teams, fire trucks, a marching band, and a police escort.
Bowden said the support from the community made them “humbled and so proud to be from this area and to call Loudoun County our home.”
“It was an awfully, awfully long road, and probably the best memories the coaches and these boys will ever have of Little League baseball,” he said.
Loudoun South Little League President Joe Soricelli said it was “truly a magical summer.”
“The outpouring of support from our community was something awesome to behold,” Soricelli said. “With each successive game the watch parties grew bigger and bigger, and we kept adding locations to accommodate everyone.” But many fans went to see the games in Pennsylvania in person, and Soricelli said “the sea of yellow when you were on the field is a memory that will last with me forever.”
The team charged into the Little League World Series on a 16-game winning streak, then cruised through their first two World Series games with no-hit shutouts. In their second game, the team put together a slaughter rule shutout, beating a team from Coon Rapids-Andover, MN 11-0 in four innings and stretching out to an 18-game winning streak.
They were the first team from Virginia to make it to the Little League World Series since 1994, and only the second American team in history to start their World Series play with consecutive no hitters. Their postseason was watched and celebrated and at watch parties and across the region.
Their run finally came to an end just one game short of the finals with a loss to the team that would go on to win the World Series, Eastbank Little League of River Ridge, LA.
Dulles District Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R), who also serves as a Loudoun South Little League volunteer and coach, said as his sons have played in the league, he has seen first-hand the commitment of the players.
“I think one of the most exciting things about this is not just the way that these boys have performed on the field, but the way that the coaches and the entire program represented themselves, the way that they showed good sportsmanship, the way that they were great teammates, the way that they really made all of us proud to be from Loudoun County,” Letourneau said.