When the Loudoun South Little League squad goes into in action at the Little League World Series on Thursday, it will be surrounded by fans wearing the special yellow World Series jerseys, as well as the team’s traditional red.
In addition to the parents already up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for their kids’ games, a bus packed with more than 40 people left a park in Aldie, Virginia, on Thursday morning filled with friends, neighbors, parents and former teammates ready to cheer their friends on.
Sometimes it was hard to tell who was more excited — the parents or the kids.
“It’s a community team, right? It’s Little League; it’s a community team,” said Renea Burkholder, whose son Griffin was one win away from playing in Williamsport last year.
She’s already anticipating a return trip to Pennsylvania later this weekend: “Oh yeah, we’ve already planned what we’re going to do on Sunday,” when Loudoun South would play again if the team wins Thursday. If the team loses, it will play on Saturday. “We’re not even thinking about Saturday; we’re just planning about what we’re going to do on Sunday. Saturday is for losers; we’re not doing that.”
Griffin offered up a scouting report as to why they’ll be back on Sunday too.
“Having that much pitching and being able to hit, it’s just unstoppable,” he said.
His buddy, Connor McGoldrick, said the Loudoun South squad won’t be too caught up in all the hype and excitement when it takes the field, since he knows “They’re not allowed to have their phones the whole day, so they don’t get to look at everything” that’s on social media.
While this Loudoun South team is composed of 12 players who are also supposed to start school next week, overall there are about 1,400 kids playing for Loudoun South teams of all ages. And Matt Valentini, who is on the Loudoun South Board and has kids rising up through the program, thinks this team could be the first of many that’ll represent the area well.
“The level of success we’ve had in this program over the last five years has just been great,” said Valentini. “Fans are very excited. This is a hotbed of baseball right now.”
And while hundreds of supporters are making the trip up for today’s game, those who couldn’t go will still end up at a various bars and restaurants around the Loudoun South area to cheer their friends on from home.
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