BG East players, coaches happy to be home after Little League World Series

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The boys from Bowling Green are finally back in the Bluegrass state.

After spending almost all of August on the road, the Bowling Green East Little League 12-year-old All-Stars returned to town late Tuesday night, hours after their originally scheduled arrival.

The team has been away from home for weeks after competing in the Great Lakes Regional Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., and the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

“It’s crazy because we left for August 2nd to go regionals,” said BG East pitcher Grayson Newman. “It’s been 20-something days. To be back in our hometown, it feels pretty good.”

After two flights, a bus ride and some weather-related delays, the team returned to Kereiakes Park around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, greeted by cheers and hugs from parents, siblings and even their beloved four-legged friends.

“It’s fun to be home,” said BG East coach Matt Idlett. “It’s great to be home. I wish we would’ve gotten home a little bit earlier to celebrate with our fans [Tuesday night], but I think we’re gonna make up for that this weekend.”

The team didn’t play as well as they had hoped during their time in Williamsport, losing their first two games in the double-elimination format.

They did, however, win their final game, beating Australia 4-1 in a consolation game on Monday morning.

Overall, after taking time to reflect on this experience, the players said it was one of the best things they’ve ever gotten to do.

“Amazing, it’s been awesome,” said Sol Guyer, Jameson Napper and Matthew Escalera, all exhausted from their long day of traveling. “A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Great opportunity.”

Newman agreed.

“It was great,” he said. “To get to experience being a 12-year-old and play in the Little League World Series, it’s just great.”

The kids on the team have since become local celebrities of sorts, soaking in all the amazing support they received from everyone back home throughout their time in Williamsport.

“It just feels good from all the support we get from everybody,” said Newman. “On our plane [Tuesday] they said, ‘Congrats to the Kentucky boys in little league.’ It feels great.”

It’s been a long summer for this group.

From the district tournament to state to regionals and all the way up to the Little League World Series, BG East has played a lot of baseball.

Now, they can finally rest, relax and reflect on the fact that they’ve represented Bowling Green and Kentucky well during their summer of success.

“These kids know how to play. They understand the game,” said Idlett. “They’re great kids to be around. It wasn’t a surprise to us from the inside, but I think this is the way youth sports is supposed to be. I think we showed that the entire way.”

BG East will hold a welcome back reception on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at Kereakis Park to make up for the original event getting canceled on Tuesday night.