Last year’s LLWS champs make return visit

Last year’s Little League World Series champions arrived at the Series on Sunday to catch a few games and to meet the new Mid-Atlantic regional champions.

Maine-Endwell Little League of New York didn’t make it to the Little League World Series as regional champions this year, but they did come to Williamsport to wish the new regional champions, Holbrook Little League of Jackson, NJ, good luck.

“They came over and asked if we were on the team,” R.J. Vashey of Holbrook Little League said. “They told us what they thought we did well and wished us luck.”

Maine-Endwell beat East Seoul Little League of Seoul, South Korea, to win the title of Little League World Series champions last year and, despite losing this year to Union-Endicott Little League of Endicott, NY in sectionals, the Little Leaguers were happy to meet the new regional champions.

“We decided to come back as a team,” Brody Raleigh of Maine-Endwell Little League, said. “Our coaches got it all together. The whole team is here.”

Between seeing games and being mistaken for this year’s Mid-Atlantic regional champions, the Maine-Endwell Little Leaguers were excited to be back at the Series.

“Just getting to see all the new teams and the fans,” Jack Hopko of Endwell said of being back at the Series.

Endwell’s host from last year, Lee Miller, is also currently the host for the new Mid-Atlantic regional champions and was happy to have the Endwell Little Leaguers back.

“It’s great to see them back. This is unique for us to get to see them come back,” Miller said. “The cool things for us is we were able to get everyone back and share memories.”

Miller was glad that the team had contacted him because it gave a chance for both Mid-Atlantic champions to meet each other.

“When we told them, we had them last year’s team, they were very excited. These guys are heroes to them,” Miller said.

For last year’s champions, meeting up with Holbrook and talking to them before their next games at the Series reminds them of when the 2015 Mid-Atlantic regional champions from Red Land, PA did the same with them.

“That happened with Red Land and us and being able to do that with the new team was kinda cool,” Conner Rush of Endwell said.

The Endwell team was glad they made the two-hour trip to the Series and spent the day watching games in both Volunteer and Lamade stadiums and while Mid-Atlantic didn’t play Sunday, it’s easy to say what team they are hoping to win.

“I hope they go far,” Jayden Fanara of Endwell said. “It would be cool for two Mid-Atlantic teams to win back to back.