Matthew Lang’s first trip to the Little League World Series is a bit of a blur. He remembers the trip to Williamsport, Pa., playing in the outfield and seeing his brother’s team celebrate its championship at the end of the week.
But when his team secured its own spot in the World Series last week, Lang said he needed to pick his brother’s memory about the 2006 title run.
“I didn’t pay too much attention to any of it,” Matthew Lang said. “I spent a lot of time sliding down the hills on a trash bag and not really watching all the games.”
His brother, Ryan, told him all he needed to know. Play your best every game. Don’t underestimate the competition. Remember to have fun.
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“My brother put it to me this way: It’s baseball heaven,” Matthew Lang said. “He said to just go there, try to enjoy yourself, have a good time and try to be the best team you can be while you’re there.”
Matthew Lang isn’t the only one on the team with family ties to the former world champions. Knox Carter’s cousin, Kyle, was a standout on the squad that won it all four years ago.
Knox Carter has seen the highlights of Kyle Carter’s 2006 performance in Williamsport, and said his cousin has kept his advice short and simple.
“He said it’s going to be a lot of fun and to expect the best from every team we play,” Knox Carter said. “I think it’s going to be, too. I’m still waiting for it all to kick in. After we won (the Southeast Regional championship), I had to pinch myself to believe it was happening to me, too.”
If there’s anyone surprised that Northern is back in the World Series or that some of the jerseys have the same names on the back, it’s not the Lang family. Ryan Lang said he and his father, Greg, had a discussion about the possibility of a Northern team returning to the World Series. They agreed this year’s squad had the talent to do so and is reveling in yet another trip to Williamsport and another shot at a championship.
“At the beginning of the season, we said that if there was a team that could go back there, this was going to be the one,” Ryan Lang said. “I just still can’t believe Matthew has been blessed with this opportunity, too. I can’t even describe how happy I am that he gets to experience it, too.”
Chris White, 706-571-8571