State returns to the Little League Baseball
World Series for the first time in 34 years, and
the guys on the team have absolutely nothing to
By Mark Rogoff
They really shouldn’t be here. They certainly
deserve it, but they just don’t seem like they
belong. It took a handful of unexpected wins, a
ton of luck and a very good sense of humor.
You see, the New England region champs from
Westbrook, Maine lost their first three pool
play games at the regional tournament. Just like
the Red Sox in the 2004 American League
Championship Series against the Yankees, the
Westbrook All-Stars were presumed done. They
were finished. They were making plans to go
back-to-school shopping at their local W.B.
On being from Maine:
Manager Rick Knight:
“Unfortunately, I do think we
get the stigma that we’re sort
of backwards and a little
behind. Some of that is a
misnomer. I would like people to
think of this team as kids from
Maine are the type of kids who
are going to make Maine proud by
being very polite, by being good
sports, by enjoying the game,
and just being there for the
love of the game.”
Outfielder Reid Coulombe:
“We’re just like any other
state. We might not be the
biggest populated. We can do
just as much as any other place.
I don’t see why people think
California has better
ballplayers. We’re just the same
way. We might not be able to
play 24-7 – the weather
certainly doesn’t permit that.
But we got good hockey players.
We’re just a regular state like
All but down
and out, they miraculously squeezed into the
semifinals after winning the round robin finale
against Rhode Island 3-0 and having all the
tie-breaking dominoes fall into place. Yes, the
Westbrook All-Star advanced to
single-elimination play with a 1-3 record.
After an improbable 6-4 win over favorite
Connecticut in the semi-final match, a 7-2
victory over Rhode Island in the championship
put them in the 59th Little League Baseball
World Series. They became just the third team in
Maine history to make the annual August tourney
for Little Leaguers after outscoring their
regional opponents by a mere three runs at
All-Stars from East Augusta Little League of
Augusta (1971) and Suburban Little League of
Portland (1951) are the only other lobster lads
to make it to South Williamsport.
“It was sort of a roundabout way, but in the
long run it looked like it worked out,” said
Westbrook manager Rick Knight.
Indeed it did.
They made it to north-central Pennsylvania with
eerily similar looks to that of the Bad News
They made it here with humor like that of the
Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
They made it here with resiliency and character
that only they and the 2004 Red Sox could ever
So welcome back to the World Series, Maine.
The Westbrook All-Stars are, without a doubt,
the real-life version of the Bad News Bears with
a touch of self-proclaimed Red Sox “idiocy.”
“I’m the idiot of this team,” says outfielder
Reid Coulombe, who keeps the team loose with his
“I think that would be pretty accurate,” says
outfielder Jarred Martin of the Bad News Bears
label. “But we don’t beat up people, we just
beat up ourselves.”
Added Reid: “I say I’d be one of their better
players. I think I’m a little less bad than they
are. I don’t get in as much trouble…but I can. I
can if I wanted to.”
Most of the kids – Reid included – have long,
shaggy hair that hasn’t been cut in months. Some
of the kids – Reid included – are big-time
jokesters…and some are dancers.
When bored, Jarred often shows off his dancing
moves to his teammates in the dorm. The “cripwalk” is his best move, one that leaves his wanna-be dancing teammates in the dust.
“I’ll be in the room and say, ‘Dance contest
going on!,’” he said. “Zach (Collett) will then
come out doing his little river dance. It will
always end up with me saying, ‘You got served.’”
In other words, Zach doesn’t dance so well…at
least in comparison to Jarred.
Then there’s Reid, whose lexicon and sense of
humor can be compared to that of Jeff Foxworthy.
“It’s not really practical jokes,” he said.
“It’s more of just stand-up comedy. I like to
write and make up my own jokes. [My teammates]
are my critics. They tell me if it’s good or
not. Most of the time they’re like, “Whatever.’
Some of the time I actually make up good ones.
“I’m an easy-going guy. I’m easy to get along
with. I’m kind of superstitious. If something’s
working – like my long hair – I keep it. If we
start losing, I shave it. I’m kind of an odd
All kidding aside, the Maine kids are at the
World Series of Little League Baseball. They
have nothing to lose and they are here to
Manager Rick admits they are happy to just be
here. That doesn’t mean, however, they’re going
to mail it in.
“Personally I just think it’s the icing on the
cake,” he said. “I think we’re already winners
because we got here. Even if they don’t win a
game, everybody would still be very proud of the
fact they made it to the World Series.
“If we do win a game, I would certainly be
happy. As long as we compete and make the games
close, you never know.”
Even if they go down in their first two games of
pool play, don’t count them out. If it happened
before, it can happen again. One win, and who
knows, they could be in.
One thing is for sure: the team is very
appreciative of being here and proud to be
representing that state of Maine.
“We as coaches are trying to tell these kids,
‘Now that you’ve won this, you have to live up
to it,’” Rick said. “When people stop them when
they’re walking by and they say,
‘Congratulations,’ you don’t walk by and nod.
You stop, look them right in the eye and say,
‘Thank you very much.’ And if they have to do
that one hundred times a day, that’s fine.
That’s something you need to do. As a team we
need to show respect. We need to show that we’re
The magic of the Maine Bears began Saturday at
Volunteer Stadium vs. the Southeast champs from
Lafayette, Louisiana. Barring the outcome of
that contest or the games to come, don’t count
these guys out.
“I’ve coached a number of teams over the years,
and the one thing that impresses me about this
team is that they have the ability to come
back,” Rick said. “They were down a couple of
tough games in the district tournament and in
the state tournament. It didn’t faze them. They
never got down. They always believed they could
win. They came back in a couple of games. I like
their resiliency and their ability to come back.
There are a lot of similarities to the Red Sox.
I wouldn’t call them ‘idiots.’ But at times I
certainly say to myself, ‘Hmm, there are a lot
of similarities there because we do have a lot
of characters on this team. There are a lot of
free spirits out there.”