Little League legends hit the world stage

Published 1:04pm 18 August 2022

Little League legends hit the world stage
Words by Jodie Powell
Image courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball.

Little League baseballers from the Moreton Bay Region have officially launched onto the world stage in the first day of play at the World Series.

Facing off against Canada in the third game of the day at Williamsport’s Volunteer Stadium, the team – made up of players from the Redcliffe Padres, Narangba Demons and Pine Rivers Rapids baseball clubs – looked confident as they took to the field in the first innings.

Not even a two-and-a-half hour delay to the start of play caused by rain and lightning could dampen their enthusiasm.

While Canada won the match 7-0, the Australians put on a feisty performance, with pitcher Alonso Zaire Griffin notching six strikeouts – the second highest for the game.

Griffin and fellow pitcher Logan Lokeni shared top honours for the highest number of first pitch strikes, with 10 apiece.

And five players racked up a hit during the game – Griffin, Xavier Honsa, Tirrell Waiwai, Jack Byrne and Mason Clem.

Family connection

Little League legends hit the world stage

Rain delayed the start of play by two-and-a-half hours. Image: ANGELEE CLEM

Watching from the stands among the 60-strong team of Australia supporters as Clem made his first hit at the World Series was his grandfather and the team’s executive officer, Lyndon Clem, who was being interviewed by an ESPN reporter at that very moment.

“It’s a dream come true really, especially when you’ve been coaching all these years, to come to this place,” Lyndon said of the chance to watch his grandson in action at the World Series.

|“That was a great hit!”|

The cameras then cut to assistant coach Chris Clem – Mason’s father – who looked as though he was about to burst with pride.

The American commentators were taken by the Australian accents and the massive journey the team took to reach Williamsport.

“They took 50 hours to get here, 30 hours in the air and we complain when we have to go two-and-a-half hours in the air – that’s crazy,” Xavier Scruggs marvelled.

Sage advice

Head coach Keith Land stepped onto the field at the end of the fourth innings to praise the boys for their hard work.

“Three hits over four innings – what’s wrong with that,” Land said.

“You’ll be better for that outing, enjoy it.”

Chatting to another group of players, he encouraged them to savour the moment.

“Welcome to the round mound of sound.

“Have some fun with it, yeah?

|“Enjoy the journey”.|

Australia’s next match is at 1pm on August 20 (3am on August 21 Brisbane time) against a team from Italy representing the Europe/Africa Region.

Meet the team here.

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