The 2018 Little League Baseball® World Series has been packed with extra inning thrillers, walk-off wins and … inclement weather.
Mother Nature has made her mark on Williamsport, the Susquehanna Valley, and throughout central Pennsylvania, with several of the LLBWS games to date experiencing rain delays, including the postponement of the three games on Tuesday.
Players and coaches have had to make changes in their practice schedules, starting lineups, and pregame routines as a result.
Yet with rain being part of the game of baseball, the frequency of inclement weather has not hindered their ability to go into their games feeling prepared. For Canada Coach Mike Marino, whose most recent game was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday, this was nothing new.
“I don’t think the rain delay was really a big deal for us,” he said. “Back home we get rained out a lot, especially early in the year.”
He mentioned that the team was somewhat relieved to get their game pushed back, not only to free up one of their top pitchers, but to spend some time with their families.
“We kept the boys calmed and controlled,” said Marino on the off-day. “They got to see their families yesterday, which was a nice break.”
Georgia’s Peachtree American Little league team also benefited from the rainout, allowing their ace Jansen Kenty to take the mound in what was an elimination matchup against Michigan. Manager Patrick Gloriod also pointed out that Kenty pitching the Thursday game freed up Tai Peete, another excellent pitcher, to pitch in Friday’s game against New York.
“I mean it helped us,” Gloriod said with a chuckle, “They had two tough games in three days, so it was good for them to be able to get a break.”
Like most of the rained out Little Leaguers, Georgia players would spend their off day relaxing with their families.
Puerto Rico took a similar approach, giving their players the day off and spending the extra down time in the Creighton J. Hale International Grove, where the players stay during the World Series. With all the practice fields filled up before their game Wednesday afternoon, the team took matters into their own hands and fielded ground balls in a nearby parking lot.
A common theme among the managers was keeping the boys busy on the off-day, yet not necessarily with baseball activities. Idaho manager Sean Cherry offered a unique perspective coming from a military background.
“You have to keep the troops busy at all times,” Cherry said. “Whether we have them clean up the rooms or cutting them lose to go to the arcade or hang out with their parents, we just have them busy the entire time.”
What conclusions can we draw from how the rain has affected the world’s best Little League teams? Let’s just say a day off in a baseball player’s paradise can never be a bad thing.