By Will Desautelle
Cacique Mara Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela received a loud ovation from a large crowd of supporters as they exited the field at Lamade Stadium for the final time in the 2019 Little League Baseball® World Series.
They bowed to the Curaçao fans sitting along the third baseline and then made their way to the opposite side where they paid tribute to their own supporters, all of which they added this week.
None of the Venezuela players’ families made the trip to Williamsport, so hundreds of fans on site decided they would try to help the players feel more at home during each of the team’s four games.
“We want to cheer them on because their parents can’t be here,” said Sutton Denny, a young supporter of the Venezuela team this week. “They like that we support them.”
The Latin America team has gained popularity over the past week for their signature RBI celebration dances, and after Deivis Ordoñez crouched batting stance went viral on social media in their game against Australia, earning him the nickname “Chicken Little.”
The “Chicken Little” batting stance garnered so much traction that it prompted Cleveland Indians outfielder, Yasiel Puig, to imitate Deivis’s stance against the New York Yankees the next day.
“The Venezuela players are like us in a lot of ways,” said Jack Franke, another young supporter of the team. “The dance moves they do are funny and so is ‘Chicken Little’s’ batting stance.”
Latin America’s journey ended with a 9-2 defeat to Curaçao’s Pabao Little League on Tuesday afternoon, but the highlight of their experience was a thrilling comeback win against Mexico in the elimination bracket the day before. In that game, Latin America had deficits of 6-2 and 7-3 before scoring five consecutive runs in the final two innings to win 8-7.
“All the players just kept on fighting throughout the week,” said manager Luis González. “They just took it one play at a time and that’s how they were able to come back against a great Mexico team.”
Another significant obstacle the Venezuela team had to overcome was playing its first three games of the tournament without one of their top pitchers, Diego Boscán, who was not granted a visa until Monday.
“Diego is one of our top three pitchers,” Mr. González said. “The important thing is that he did make it here and can enjoy the rest of the week with his teammates.”
Latin America will have a few more days in Williamsport before returning home to their biggest fans.
“First of all, I want to thank the entire Little League organization for having my team here and allowing the kids to have a good time,” Mr. González said. “Second of all, thank you to all the fans that came over and made us feel like we were in Venezuela when cheering for the team and making the kids happy to come to the games.”