WHITESTOWN, Ind. – After a nail biting finish, Hagerstown Little League (Team Indiana) pulled off the win against Kentucky in Whitestown on Thursday.
Thursday’s final 4-3 score advances Hagerstown to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. According to a post on the team’s Facebook page, they’ll be boarding a bus for the trip around 7 Friday morning.
Hagerstown fans packed the stands, creating a sea of purple, on Thursday.
“I grew up with my brothers playing little league ball. We actually went to Williamsport to watch the Little League World Series as a family vacation,” said Logan Replogle, who was watching the game in support of Hagerstown.
Replogle, who has a family connection on the team, said it’s been fun following the team’s journey.
“My cousin’s nephew is on the team,” she said. “Watching Team Indiana go so far, especially knowing and following on Facebook, all these people… it’s very exciting to see!”
Hagerstown Little League President Shawn Murphy teared up talking about the team and the strides they’ve made together.
“It’s one of those things that it moves you to emotions,” Murphy said, “but we’re super proud of these boys and excited to cheer them on in Williamsport.”
In a town of less than 2,000 people, Murphy said it’s clear the entire community is behind them.
“You look around, you see all these people here from our little town, supporting them on this journey… We’re all family,” he said. “These people will travel to the ends of the Earth to support these boys.”
Reflecting back on the start of the season, Coach Patrick Allred admitted he and the other coaches didn’t expect to make it this far.
“When we put the team together, the first couple of practices, we kind of looked at each other and thought ‘man, we’re not quite good enough’,” he said, “and this was our goal, but we didn’t really think we were good enough, but the boys worked hard, worked to get better.”
The team’s commitment to working harder has treated them well through an undefeated season and several titles. Allred said the mentality going into each game has remained the same.
“A few close games, like that one, we’ve pulled through,” he said. “These kids never get nervous. You can’t really tell they’re nervous, they’re just playing baseball. Us coaches on the other hand, we’re super nervous, but they just play the game they love and have a good time.”
Though Hagerstown may be small, the success speaks volumes as the team sets out to make an even bigger name for themselves.
“We keep saying ‘what’s next? why not us?’ So, why not us,” said Allred. “We’re going to keep working and see what we can do when we get to Williamsport.”