Nothing is more exciting for a little leaguer than earning a spot in the Little League World Series, especially when the World Series is right down the road from your home town.
To say the last 48 hours have been exciting for Keystone Little League is an understatement, as the team was greeted by a crowd of fans from the area as they crossed the Carl E. Stotz bridge into South Williamsport Monday evening and conducted their first practice Tuesday.
The team from Clinton County has made the last few days in the area some of the most exciting in recent memory, when it became the first local team in 42 years to make it to the World Series.
Keystone players pick up their gear after a short practice at Little League Tuesday, their first full day on the grounds after arriving Monday evening after winning the Mid-Atlantic regional.
"It's kind of hard to explain when you achieve something you have dreamed of for so many years, that's how these kids are feeling," said Keystone manager Bill Garbrick. "The win up in Bristol was amazing. That feeling was amazing and just to watch the kids storm each other on the field - it's hard to explain that."
In the wake of Keystone's win on Monday, the league's Facebook page has recently surpassed 14,000 fans to go along with the large group that gathered to welcome the team to South Williamsport Monday night.
"That showing means a lot to them," Garbrick said. "It's one thing to see your home crowd show that kind of support, but to see people from Williamsport and everyone from the area that don't even know them personally, that meant a lot to them."
Even though the team hasn't been at the Little League complex very long, they have already been exposed to new teams and different cultures, something Garbrick enjoys.
"We haven't done much here besides a few practices and a few meals, but what we have seen has been very interesting," said Garbrick. "We are rooming with the Japanese team so there are a bunch of cultural differences and a language barrier. But it's neat to see how the kids communicate and still get along."
While the team has been getting acquainted with the Japanese team they have also been lucky enough to see some friendly faces from their time in Bristol for the regional tournament.
"It's nice seeing the comraderie they have with some of the Japanese kids already and we saw the kids from Rhode Island in Bristol. It's neat to see them back together."
With the arrival of Keystone to South Williamsport many believe this year's World Series could see a spike in attendance, much of which is in support of Keystone.
"It means a lot. When you take the field and you hear the roar of the crowd," Garbrick said. "When you have a good play out in the field or someone has a hit and the roar of the crowd is way beyond what the other team can generate it means a lot to them."
Despite the excitement over the last few days for Keystone, the best is yet to come with Little League's Grand Slam Parade tonight and their first game Friday night against North Oldham Little League from La Grange, Ky., for a crowd Little League conservatively estimated would be at least 15,000 fans.
"I think it's an opportunity to play well for a home crowd," Garbrick said. "A core group has been to states four years in a row so they have dealt with a lot of pressure and played in a lot of high-profile games and they have handled it well."