Saturday, August 24, 2002

Louisville Little Leaguers create frenzy

Community gives cash, plans trips for World Series heroes

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE - Dozens of signs cheering on the city's national championship-bound Little League team dot a 2-mile stretch of their south Louisville neighborhood. And inside many of those businesses, government offices and schools, neighbors are lending their support to the 11- and 12-year-old players from the Valley Sports team by collecting money and donating their services.

        “This team is bringing the community together,” said Barbara Wilson, general manager of Sweet & Sassy Tours. “They're inspiring a lot of other kids now.”

        Sweet & Sassy donated its two buses, while driver Dwight Hack and owner Carolyn Shoats volunteered to take fans on the nearly nine-hour trip to Pennsylvania for Saturday's game. More than 100 people have signed up to the trip, each paying $25 to help with gas.

        Valley Sports advanced to the national championship game of the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., with a 2-1 win over Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday night. If Valley Sports wins today's U.S. championship game against Worcester, Mass., it advances to Sunday's Little League World Series final.

        At Shively Sporting Goods, hundreds of people stood in line to buy $10 Valley Sports T-shirts. For two consecutive days, Shively Sporting Goods sold out of the shirts within an hour. The store expected to sell nearly 1,000 shirts by today, with half of the proceeds going to the team.

        Sales manager Robbie Wine said the shop hasn't experienced a fan frenzy like this since the University of Louisville won a national basketball championship in the 1980s.

        “I think it's just catching their fancy,” Wine said. “With the possibility of a baseball strike, it's refreshing to see them. They're just 11- and 12-year-old kids.”

        Meanwhile at Conway Middle School, where team players Aaron Alvey, Josh Robinson and Wes Warden are enrolled, students and teachers donned mustard-colored shirts reading Great Lakes Valley Sports. Although the school requires students to wear uniforms, they were allowed to wear league jerseys and shirts Friday as part of the school's Spirit Day.

        “It's really hard to start class in the morning. There's a constant buzz,” said teacher Kim Carden. “We have to have some vent time to release that pressure.”

        The 11- and 12-year-olds' journey to the Little League World Series has made them celebrities in the community, students and teachers say.

        Seventh-grader Andrea Clark compiled a folder stuffed with articles written about the team and printouts of the players cards.

        “Kids that didn't know them talk about them,” Clark said. “All I want to talk about is them.”“This team is bringing the community together. They're inspiring a lot of other kids now.”


Sports Stories
Buckeyes plan to hit the ground running
No. 25 Wisconsin 23, Fresno St. 21
C-J's Peavy commits to Miami
MLS Crew play Riverhawks tonight
- Louisville Little Leaguers create frenzy

Bengals QB should be decided tonight
Bengals Notebook: Dillon's turn tonight
Ravens 13, Eagles 12
Jaguars 24, Bears 16
Patriots 23, Panthers 3
Vikings 14, Titans 10
NFL Notebook: Simmons killed in crash
Astros 6, Reds 4
Reds Box, Runs
Griffey plays LF to ease injured hip
Reds Notebook: Testing day for pitchers
Astros pitcher rewards manager's faith
Hunter finds home with Astros
Phillies 5, Cardinals 4, 14 innings
Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 2
Dodgers 4, Braves 3
Expos 7, Giants 2
Padres 18, Marlins 2
Rockies 10, Mets 4
Athletics 9, Tigers 1
No big news from labor talks
Toledo 7, Louisville 4
UC needs better defense
Pacers to train at Xavier
Coach's role extends beyond X's and O's
Colerain-Moeller highlight Showdown
Mason upsets Lebanon 14-12
Roger Bacon rallies past Mt. Healthy
Top-ranked Highlands comes up short
Trojans, lightning strike
Weather plays havoc with openers
Another Smith lifts Thoroughbreds
Beechwood's Yeagle leaves coaching job
CovCath controls tempo, blanks Boone County
Kings batters 'Boro
Lexington Henry Clay 18, Highlands 13
McNick's Denton throws 4 TD passes vs. Turpin
Carroll County 27, Ludlow 0
Carroll County 27, Ludlow 0
CCD 34, Madeira 22
CHCA 56, Williamsburg 12
Conner 20, Corbin 6
Conner 20, Corbin 6
Glen Este 20, Goshen 9
Harmony Community 42, Lockland 0
Harmony Community 42, Lockland 0
Holmes 28, Simon Kenton 17
Lakota East 17, Wayne 7
Lou. Holy Cross 21, Holy Cross 0
Loveland 28, Northwest 14
Mariemont 27, Western Brown 0
Mercer Co. 35, Scott 14
Mercer Co. 35, Scott 14
Middletown 28, Withrow 0
Middletown 28, Withrow 0
Milford 33, Amelia 7
Norwood 28, Taylor 12
Purcell Marian 12, Walnut Hills 6
Reading 21, Clinton-Massie 20
Ross 33, Lemon-Monroe 8
Western Hills 29, Dayton Belmont 6
How Enquirer poll teams fared
Local Football Scores
Ohio prep football scores
Indiana prep football scores
Kentucky prep football scores
Boys golf results
Girls tennis results
Girls volleyball preview
Kentucky volleyball preview
PETA objects to Massillon Washington's mascot