Little league fever takes over Stanley Park in Calgary – Calgary | Canadian

It’s the cardinal rule on the diamond: keep your eye on the ball.

Even if you’re doing an interview.

“Oh my goodness, it’s just been alive. It’s just great, everybody is cheering for the… YEAH CLARK!” Jennifer Secord-Tomlin cheered as her son Clark struck out a Moose Jaw batter on Tuesday afternoon.

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Her reaction summarized the jubilant atmosphere at Stanley Park quite nicely.

Little League fever has taken over Rose Diamond as Canada’s top seven teams battle to represent the maple leaf at next week’s Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Calgary is represented by the host Rocky Mountain Little League and Team Alberta’s Calgary West Little League.

Click to play video: 'Calgary hosts Canadian Little League Championship for first time since 1994' Calgary hosts Canadian Little League Championship for first time since 1994
Calgary hosts Canadian Little League Championship for first time since 1994

More than 300 players, coaches, staff and family members are in Calgary, with many more cheering from home and watching the live stream of the event.

Mixed in among the cheering parents are everyday baseball fans — and even some Okotoks Dawgs staff, scouting out some fresh talent.

“It’s very, very unique,” Dawgs 13U head coach Tyler Milton Said. “Knowing that the winning team here goes to Williamsport, everyone watches it. I was here on Sunday when Calgary West was playing Rocky Mountain and there were probably 1,000 people here.”

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Players say the avid fan support is helping them up their game.

“Oh, it’s great. I love it,” Rocky Mountain Little League pitcher Clark Tomlin grinned. “It gets me pumped up. It makes me throw my fastball harder and my curveball with more spin on it.”

For visiting teams, the buzz began before they even made it to the Alberta border.

“We brought a team van,” Schoenroth said.” So the coaches, bless their hearts, got in a van with 11 boys and drove here. Our van has the All-Stars logo on it and it was so neat to see them on the highway. It was just exciting that we’re finally getting to where we want to be.”

Inside the van, coaches were treated to nearly 700 kilometres of loud jokes and pump-up music.

One popular jam? Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA.

“Very loud and noisy,” Moose Jaw Little League standout Zaid Guillaume said with a smile. “A lot of fun though. It’s good to have a lot of company in there.”

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While fans have been treated to some great games, for the 10 to 12-year-old-players, the highlight has been getting to know each other off the field.

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Post-game, opponents rushed to the nearby Elbow River for a refreshing dunk and snacks before returning to their shared hotel.

“It’s been really fun to bond with a lot of teams, especially Quebec,” Guillaume said. “They’re really nice, especially since I know a lot of French, I can communicate with them. It’s fun.”

“There’s a player’s lounge at the hotel and we all get together and like play on the PlayStation or go play ping pong,” Tomlin added. “Then there’s a pool, which is very fun.”

The top four teams will advance to Thursday’s semifinal matches.

Both Rocky Mountain and Calgary West are currently in a position to move on to the playoffs.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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