Not many athletes ever get to play on their field of dreams, but 12 players from Wheelersburg will get that chance later in the month.
The 11- and 12-year-old All-Stars will travel to Williamsport, Pa. at the end of the month to compete in a exhibition game in the city where big league dreams materialize. Though the team, who will face a team from Bayonne, N.J. in the exhibition, will play on the old field, about five miles from the new field, it's still an opportunity to do something only a handful of players have ever done.
“What we try to do is give 12 young men, who wouldn't have had a chance otherwise, to do, see and experience something special,” said organizer Bruce Parsley. “There are activities at the World Series all week long and there are side games. We want the kids to see things outside of Wheelersburg and Scioto County.”
Parsley had the idea of sending a team to Williamsport, Pa. three years ago and talked with Glen Seagraves, who runs the exhibitions. Finally, after applying, a spot opened up. For a team that has been together for years, it was a nice reward.
“They've got to the state tournament a couple of times, when they were 10- and 11- years-old,” said coach Tom Slye.
Not only will the team be a part of the week's festivities, they will also get to watch the championship games at the end of the week.
“It will give the kids a chance to see teams in other areas and other countries and see what it's really like to see upper-class-type baseball,” Slye said. “We'll be honored to be there.”
Currently, the team is still trying to raise money for the trip and is close to accumulating all of it. Parsley said the team will auction off a signed Pete Rose jersey, as well as helping out in the community to help raise the balance. Parsley said an opportunity like this doesn't come around often but, hopefully, will show other kids the rewards of working hard.
“We want to show what Little League has to offer and what you can do by getting good grades and staying in sports,” Parsley said.
JEFF TAEPKE can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.