By Will Desautelle and Ethan Roy
On Sunday night at Bowman Field, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates faced off in the third annual MLB Little League Classic.
The 2019 edition marks the second time the Pirates will play in the MLB Little League Classic with the first time coming in the inaugural game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates won 6-3.
Players from both MLB teams had the chance to meet and mingle with the World Series players at Little League International earlier in the day while watching the slate of Little League World Series games and participating in special pregame ceremonies.
A young supporter of the Central East Maui (Hawaii) Little Leaguers named Grayson, holding a baseball with signatures from Pirates’ Josh Bell and Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber, said “it was easy” to interact with the big leaguers.
Northwest player, Thomas VanBishler, described the experience as “one of the best moments of my life,” after meeting Bell and Schwarber.
Arriving around 11:30 a.m., the Pittsburgh Pirates players spent time watching the game at Lamade Stadium between the Midwest and Southeast Little League teams.
The Pirates players and coaches thrilled the players and fans with their participation in the team introductions before the 1 p.m. game between the Mexico and Japan Region winners at Volunteer Stadium.
The Chicago Cubs players bussed onto the Little League International shortly after 12:30 p.m. and then proceeded to watch the game between Japan and Mexico at Volunteer Stadium.
Like the Pirates, the Cubs players to part in a pregame introduction ceremony at Lamade Stadium before the start of to the last LLBWS game of the day between the West Region and Mid-Atlantic Region teams.
“It was unbelievable,” said Mildred Soto, the mother of Mid-Atlantic’s Yamil Soto. “They love Javy Baez, so the fact that they’re here with the Cubs around, it’s a really cool experience.”
The MLB Little League Classic umpire crew also visited the Little League Complex during the day to interact with the Little League players.
MLB Little League Classic crew chief, Alan Porter, worked the bases during the first two innings of the game between the West and Mid-Atlantic at Lamade Stadium.
The 2020 MLB Little League Classic was announced earlier in World Series and will have the Boston Red Sox playing the Baltimore Orioles in the first MLB Little League Classic match-up of American League teams.