Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thomas & Farris can finally celebrate

The third Wilson City Little League season is in the books with Thomas & Farris finally taking the top prize with a 6-5 defeat of defending champion Italian Pizza and Subs on Monday night in Heritage Bank Stadium.

This was the first chance I had to sit in the stands and watch a game since I was too busy during the grand opening on May 30 to actually sit and watch. What a gorgeous summer evening it was, too. A purplish hue colored the sky at sunset, tinging the backdrop of green fields surrounding Gillette Baseball Complex on London Church Road.

The play of the Little Leaguers was impressive as well. Even though there were seven errors in the Majors Division championship (but only three in the Triple-A Minors final!), the play of these 9-to-12-year-olds was noteworthy. I was especially struck by the grittiness of Thomas & Farris closer Chase Long who left his starting spot behind home plate to take the mound with the bases full and nobody out with a one-run lead in the sixth inning.

After striking out one batter, Long fired a wild pitch and tagged out the runner trying to score from third base despite taking a cleat to the stomach in the process which knocked the wind out of him. After a couple of warm-up tosses, Long retired the last batter on chopper to third baseman Austin Boswell.

Long told me after the game he watched LSU beat Texas in the College World Series and wanted to know what it was like celebrating on the mound after the final out — which he did. He also said he didn't want to feel like those Texas fans did watching LSU whoop it up.

Well, now Long and his Thomas & Farris teammates finally know what it's like to celebrate a title after losing to Farris & Farris in the WCLL's first championship game and winning the regular-season crown but not making the final last summer.

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