Red Land Little League is hoping for a bit of a home field advantage.
The Pennsylvania-based squad will appear in Saturday afternoon’s U.S. Championship at the 2015 Little League World Series, looking to stay undefeated and earn a berth in the final matchup on Sunday. They’re also hoping for a bit of hometown support. So far, that hasn’t been a problem.
Over 35,000 fans watched Red Land’s victory over Texas on Wednesday, the largest crowd of the entire tournament and fans have been flocking to Williamsport. The Red Land fans will be in good form on Saturday after a reported 9,000 championship shirts were printed and sold at a local store.
Here’s what you need to know about the local squad that has captured the hearts of an entire state:
1. Red Land Defeated Texas to Clinch a Spot in the U.S. Championship
The team from Pennsylvania just keeps rolling.
Red Land Little League, which calls Lewisberry, Pennsylvania its home base, cruised to yet another victory on Wednesday evening, defeating Pearland West, Texas 3-0. Left-hander Adam Cramer earned the victory on the mound while Jaden Henline took over in the final inning to earn the save. Henline, who had started the game at shortstop, got three more strikeouts in the sixth, escaping a bases-loaded threat.
While the pitching was on lock down, the Red Land bats were still going strong. Cole Wagner connected on a solo home run and Henline, the under-the-radar star of the game, recorded three hits, including an RBI single.
2. Adam Cramer Finished With 13 Strikeouts Against Texas
Talk about stepping up in the moment.
Adam Cramer hadn’t pitched since the early stages of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament several weeks ago but the 12-year-old didn’t appear to show any signs of rust against Pearland West, Texas on Wednesday night. If anything, Cramer was nothing short of dominant.
Cramer racked up 13 strikeouts and gave up just three hits and two walks in front of an estimated crowd of 35,107. It was the largest audience so far at this year’s Little League World Series. The left-hander threw a total of 87 pitches and only two of his outs came by something other than a strikeout. He notched a fly ball and a comeback grounder.
3. Students From West Shore School District Were Allowed to Miss School to Watch the LLWS Games
Red Land has some serious support back home. So much so that school officials at West Shore School District officially announced that students have been excused from school in order to attend games in person.
Fans from Lewisberry came in droves to see Red Land practice on Tuesday afternoon and take on Texas in the U.S. semifinal on Wednesday evening. Bob Piscotty, whose daughter Kimmy attends West Shore School said he was happy to sign the slip allowing her to attend the game:
Everybody’s focused on it. Everybody’s excited. It’s fabulous. I think it’s great. Nobody’s mind is on school, especially being the second day anyhow. This is a good reason to just get away and end the summer.
The students aren’t the only ones missing school either. Red Land’s manager Tom Peifer is the high school’s certified school nurse.
4. Dylan Rodenhaber Has Been a Standout at the LLWS
The 12-year-old third baseman/outfielder has been a standout character throughout the Little League World Series. He’s been everything from the team goofball to a social butterfly, finding success trading pins with every other team in the tournament. Rodenhaber told Penn Live:
I think it’s kind of cool to interact with them, learn about them. That’s kind of the main reason I do it. It’s not just us who need friends. They need friends just like we do.
But while Rodenhaber’s personality has taken the LLWS spotlight, it’s his bat that should e getting the headlines. This summer he’s hitting .426 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. Those are pretty alright stats.
5. Many Parents Have Been Commuting From York County to South Wiliamsport for Games
While their children have been racking up the victories at Williamsport, the parents of the Red Land Little League have been reorganizing their schedules, hopping trains and setting up car pools in order to make it to games.
In fact, over the past week and a half, nearly a dozen sets of Red Land parents have jumped on and off the two-hour commuter train from York County to South Williamsport. Meanwhile, back home their houses are decorated in support of the team and neighbors are coming out of the woodwork to show their support. Christina Cramer, mother of Adam who pitched in Wednesday’s semifinal, said:
You go to Walmart just to shop, and you can’t get through in less than an hour. The community’s really embraced this team.
While the parents have been thrilled at the chances the tournament has offered their children, they’re still anxious to get back to the “real world.” They’d also really love to get some sleep.
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