HAGERSTOWN, Ind. — An Indiana town of 1,600 cheered its Hagerstown team to victory in its first game Thursday in the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania.
The community has created T-shirts with the colors of the team. A watch party for all Nettle Creek Schools students drew a crowd at Hagerstown Junior-Senior High School as the game started Thursday afternoon.
Hagerstown is a 70-minute drive east of Indianapolis. The Nettle Creek district has about 1,100 students. Hagerstown Town Manager Chris LaMar said, “It’s super exciting. I think everyone in the town is really excited about it.”
Brody Benson, a student, said, “I’m very excited for them. I hope they have a good time and enjoy it.”
For the small town, watching its regional champion Little League team make it to the World Series has been nothing short of amazing. The town manager said, “There’s 13 kids. Most of them are either friends or family of just about everyone in Hagerstown.”
The town’s Main Street, a.k.a. State Road 38, has been filled with colorful signs that show support for the team. There’s also pictures of team members and coaches as well as flowerpots with their names.
Emily Schaeffer, superintendent of Nettle Creek Schools, said, “There’s signs of the players. It’s just … it’s really awesome that a community supports adventures like this.”
After Thursday night’s 8-7 win over Davenport (Iowa) Southeast Little League, the Nettle Creek superintendent said she was not sure whether another watch party would happen at the high school. The next game is set for 3 p.m. Monday. Hagerstown’s opponent will be determined after a Friday game in the World Series.
Meanwhile, inside The Logo Shoppe on Main Street, hundreds of T-shirts have been made for people to show their team spirit.
“The support for these boys, I’m not sure they understand it, what’s going on back home. I know they’re overwhelmed probably in Pennsylvania, but it has been fantastic the support that we’ve gotten not only from our small community but from surrounding communities,” said Shellie Gray, the manager of The Logo Shoppe.
The town manager and the superintendent say the team’s achievement has a made a big impact on the community.
LaMar said, “It definitely has got us noticed. We’re by far the smallest town with a population of roughly 1,800. I think the next smallest town to Hagerstown is around 5,000, so it’s definitely putting us on the map.”
Schaeffer said, “Their success speaks to the quality of programs that we have such as the Little League program, and so it’s just outstanding that for such a small community that we can provide our students with opportunities like that.”
Jared Ward, a science teacher at Hagerstown Elementary School, said, “The community of baseball is super big here in Hagerstown, so being able to see my students leave me and then to continue to play baseball. They’ve been playing together for a long time and to see that actually come to fruition being one of the last ten teams in the United States is more than awesome.”