We Are The Champions!!!
West University’s Senior Division All-Stars won the World Series Saturday, defeating a team from California by9 to 7.
The team is the first West U team to take home the championship trophy in the Senior Division World Series. They will be honored at a local parade on Sunday, August 30.
Led by power-hitters Michael Resnick and Cole Lankford, the West U team’s success on the playing field was celebrated by local youngsters and grown-ups. They hollered, clapped and, occasionally, bit their nails.
As the WULL All-Star’s 7-0 lead narrowed, the fans grew quietly nervous. But, as West U’s boys of summer took to the field in a triumphant and joyous huddle, the fans were on their feet cheering.
At Skeeter’s, West U Little Leaguer Matt O’Connor had one word as the Senior Division champs appeared on the big TV screen at Skeeter’s Grill.
“Awesome,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor was munching a hamburger while watching the championship game with his friend and teammate Jay Bhandari.
“It’s a lifetime event for all these players, really,” said Bob O’Connor, the youngster’s dad. “It’s really quite an accomplishment.”
Nearby, at the Edloe Street Deli in West U, two big screens also drew a crowd of
youngsters who shared snacks or stared transfixed.
“A lot of my friends are on the seniors,” said West U Little Leaguer Ian Gibaut. “It’s amazing they’ve come so far.”
West U City Councilman Steven Segal arrived at the Deli waving a green, vintage West U Little League pennant.”It comes from when I was coaching my son,” Segal said.
“I would have preferred that they say they’re from West University Place, not the Houston Little League,” Segal said.
Another big crowd gathered at the Rajin Cajun, to cheer and holler as the local boys of summer took home the championship.
West U’s Little League All-Stars took home the championship trophy after wins over teams from Wisconsion, and international players from the Asia Pacific region, Italy and Aruba.
Team members flew to the World Series on a chartered jet, accompanied by some family members and friends.
Win or lose, the team will be honored with a parade when they get home.
“We are discussing a parade on Sunday, August 30, at about 2 p.m.,” said West U City Manager Michael Ross. “Win or lose.”
The parade will follow a route down University Boulevard from Annapolis to Paul Wallin Field, Ross said.
Ross noted that the West U All-Stars are playing international teams in the World Series.
“When Bellaire won it, (in 2000) they were only the U.S. champs,” Ross said. “If these guys win, they will be the best in the world.”
Team members traded their green-and-gold uniforms for the traditional blue-and-gray uniforms worn by the Southwest Champions during the World Series championship tournament.
The WULL team members include Davis Atkins, Stewart Cartwright, Luke Cone, Andrew Dunlap, Hugh Echols, Ryan Farney, Evan Fichter, Travis Gauntt, Harrison James, Joshua King, Matt Luna, Cole Lankford, Cameron Neal, Samuel Reid, Michael Resnick, Kevin Roy, and John Williamson.The Senior All Star team represents five area high schools including Episcopal High School, Lamar High School, St. John’s School, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School, and Westside High School.
West U baseball fan Joni Hruska Fichter said that the team dedicated their district, state and Southwest Championship to former coach Andrew Goldberg, who lost a battle with cancer 11 months ago. In an e-mail, Fichter suggested that Goldberg has become the youths’ “Patron Saint of Baseball.”
“They played their hearts out the entire season for the man they called Coach Goldy as he coached some of these boys from their start in Little League and assisted or managed every All-Star or Select Team from the time they were Pee Wees through last summer,” Fichter wrote. “They each have their own way of honoring him and keeping his spirit alive…some have his name or a verse written on their cleats, some have his initials on the bill of their hat, and all carry him in their hearts all the time.”
In a statement on the web-site, WULL president Greg Thompson “We could not be more proud and thankful that we have such a wonderful group of young men that are still excited to represent West University Little League and families that still encourage and enable them to do so.”