SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The song told the story.
Sixteen Little League teams from Japan to Hamilton, Ohio, marched into Volunteer Stadium Friday morning for the opening ceremonies.
The chorus of “It’s a Small World” was playing on the public address system.
Columbus Northern was wearing the uniform of the Southeast champion,
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Jack Tanner, Jack Copley and Matthew Lang carried the Southeast banner into the stadium as the team took its place on the shortstop side of second base between teams from Latin America and Europe.
Copley called carrying the banner “fun and an honor.”
Asked how he was selected to walk in front of his teammates Lang was brutally honest.
“I was the shortest,” he said.
Little long ball
Northern’s Jacob Pate didn’t fare well in the Little League World Series long-ball contest.
Don’t worry, nobody took it too seriously.
Pate popped the first pitch he swung at up, then followed it with a couple of line drives.
Pate and Northern manager Randy Morris, the batting practice pitcher were jokingly pointing the finger at each other.
“I can’t believe he took two on me right down the middle,” Morris said.
“I am going to blame it on you.”
Pate had a counter response.
“I blame it on him,” Pate said.
Tanner had a an obvious observation of Pate’s performance.
“That’s the one time you didn’t want to swing level,” Tanner said.
Meeting a Hall of Famer
In addition to the long-ball competition, the players on the 16 teams got a few pointers from Andre Dawson, who was a stellar outfielder for the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs.
Dawson, whose nickname is “The Hawk,” was recently inducted into the baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“I know there will be pressure,” Dawson told the Little Leaguers.
“Throughout that pressure, enjoy this experience for what it is.”
Pate got to shake Dawson’s hands.
“His wrists are huge,” Pate said.