Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Just before 2:00 p.m., in the midst of Tuesday’s opening game between New England and Europe, many people in South Williamsport, Pa., experienced a Little League Baseball World Series first. They felt the shake of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake.
Though no one on the field at ground level felt anything, many others – from press row to the Little League Museum – felt a noticeable rumble.
“The glass on a window started moving, and I had no idea what it was,” said Erika Day, a museum gift shop employee. “Once I heard it was an earthquake, I was a little surprised.”
The quake’s epicenter shook Louisa, Va., just outside Charlottesville, but was felt all the way from Georgia to northern New England. Adam Thompson, assistant director of the Little League Museum, was down in the basement archives when it hit.
“I felt everything kind of shaking, and thought, ‘Wow, the kids upstairs are roaming around crazy today,” he said.
But when he walked upstairs to see what the commotion was about, no one he talked to had felt anything.
“I thought, ‘This is it. I’m finally losing it,” he said. “But then I checked Facebook and saw everything that was going on.”
Nate Ranck, another museum employee, said he didn’t feel or see anything.
“I was really disappointed,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of an earthquake, and I didn’t even get to feel it.”
He wasn’t alone.
New England manager David Belisle and his Rhode Island team didn’t even notice the tremors that interrupted their 8-7 walkoff win over the Netherlands.
“No, we didn’t feel the earthquake, that’s how focused we are,” Belisle said with a chuckle. “I didn’t feel the earthquake, nothing.”
The Cumberland Little League players didn’t realize it, either. They found out
in postgame interviews, at the same time as their manager.
“[When the boys found out,] they just looked at each other and said ‘There was an earthquake?’” added Belisle. “I said, ‘Yeah, I guess so.’ I didn’t feel it at all.”
A structural engineer brought in by Little League International fully inspected both Howard J. Lamade and Volunteer Stadium and found no structural damage as a result of the quake.
Concerning the cause of the earthquake, Little League mascot Dugout had a possible explanation.
“I was dancing so much the ground shook,” Dugout tweeted.
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and Africa regional champs, became the first team to depart the Little League Complex Tuesday morning, shipping out after being eliminated by Japan on Monday.
They aren’t the only team not hanging around for the duration of the tournament. School has started for many of these little leaguers and many of their coaches and managers are ready to return to real life and the non-baseball responsibilities they’ve been able to ignore these past few weeks.
Cumberland Little League, the New England representatives from Cumberland, R.I., will head back north Wednesday, having played its final game Tuesday morning (an 8-7 walkoff win over Europe) while the Midwest and Asia-Pacific intend to leave over the next two days, respectively.
Canadian manager Jason Andrews said he and his team will be staying in Williamsport for the rest of the week despite being eliminated by Japan Tuesday, 4-0.
Eliminated teams have played crossover scrimmages in the past, and Andrews says he’ll be looking out for anyone who wants to play. He’d like to give some kids who didn’t have the chance to pitch the opportunity.
Canada manager Jason Andrews says his players learned a lot, but he may have learned more.
“I’m gonna learn to have a little more fun,” he said, speaking of what he will take away from this past week. “I was a little intense during the games. I loosened up as the tournament went on. I usually coach 18-year-olds. This was my first time with the 12s.
“I expect my ballplayers to learn from their mistakes. A good coach will learn from his mistakes as well.”