Teams from Goodlettsville, TN and Bowling Green, KY — it’s on!

They come on the screen and smile. Each one introduces himself and names his favorite big league baseball player. They are very young! Quite a few are still wearing braces on their teeth. Some smile beautifully (braces or no) and articulate every syllable of every word perfectly. I think they have had either one-on-one media coaching or a good middle school speech/communication class. Some are so serious and scared that they tug on my heart strings!

When they come up to bat, their personal numbers appear in boxes across the screen. The age, height, weight, and tournament performance stats are presented. They are all within a year or two of each other in age, but their sizes are day and night apart. And their performances seem totally unrelated to either age or size. The smallest kid can make a huge, game-changing play! Just saw a tiny kid hit a bases-loaded home run! These kids can really hit and run and field and throw and pitch — amazing skills!

The setting is beautiful! How does Williamsport, PA decide they could/should stage this wonderful event and go on to do it — year after year?!? Teams from Goodlettsville, TN and Bowling Green, KY are playing in the United States bracket. You don’t really think of that region as a hotbed of baseball heritage — but there they are! And they so belong! They earned their appearances in this championship bracket with skill and determination and heart. They deserve to be here at the Little League Baseball World Series! As a long-time resident of the Tennessee-Kentucky region — they make me very proud!