By Joe Darby
Louisiana is enjoying a world championship. Brought to us by a great group of little children. The boys that I’m talking about would probably resent being referred to as little children, but after all, they range in age from only 10 to 12 years old.
The lads are from Jefferson Parish’ East Bank, which includes the cities of Kenner and Harahan and unincorporated areas like Metairie and River Ridge. The latter community, in fact, was the name by which they were known in the 2019 Little League playoffs.
These boys went through five levels of competition, winning local, state and regional tournaments, before they won the national championship last week.
So there they were, in Williamsport, Pa., the home of the Little League World Series, to face Curacao for all the marbles. Curacao is a rather small island in the Caribbean, close to the Venezuelan coast. They have produced some talented Major League ballplayers in recent years and it’s likely that some of the kids on the 2019 Curacao Little League team may end up in the Bigs also.
But, in last Saturday’s game, they were no match for the boys from East Jeff. The pitcher, Egan Prather, tossed a two-hit game against the lads from Curacao, who had been hitting very well in the tournament up to that point. A Louisiana player who also hit quite well was Reece Roussell, who broke the Little League World Series record by banging out 17 hits in the championship tournament.
I watched the game, from start to finish, and it was over before I expected. I thought the game was to go seven innings, but it was in fact, six. So when the Louisiana boys got Curacao to line out in their final at bat in the bottom of the sixth, I was surprised to see the players’ jubilation and the traditional dog pile, as they jumped into a heap in the center of the diamond.
But what a pleasant surprise it was for me. Sometimes we Louisianians don’t have too much to brag about — except for our people, our food, our joie de vivre — but I digress. Last weekend a bunch of pre-teen boys from the suburbs of New Orleans brought us some much deserved pleasure and pride. Well done, lads.