Northern players having a blast at the Little League World Series

While his teammates were laboring away in the batting cage at the Little League World Series compound, Northern second baseman Jack Tanner was inside historic Lamade Stadium working on his hitting and fielding.

Tanner and catcher Blake Hicks were taping an ESPN "Building Blocks" segment with former Major League shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

Tanner walked away with a first-impression of Valentine.

"He's loud," Tanner said, flashing a smile.

Garciaparra worked with Tanner on hitting, while Valentine was showing Hicks the finer points of fielding bunts out of the catching position.

"He told me my arm was too low," Hicks said.

The two Northern stars got to put on their garnet and gold game uniforms while their teammates were in shorts and practice shirts Thursday morning.

The Northern players were loose as they still have two days before playing Hawaii in the opening round Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.

The Northern kids, who have already won the Georgia state and Southeastern regional tournaments, are making an impression off the field.

Larry Missigman is one of the "uncles" assigned to the team.

"I'd keep them," he said. "There is politeness, and these kids are well beyond that."

Northern manger Randy Morris does not take those kinds of comments for granted.

"That means as much to me as somebody telling me how good the team plays," Morris said. "We want to win, but we want to win the right way."

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