ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a dream come true for a little league team from Elizabeth.
The young sluggers compete Friday night in the tournament that attracts the top youth talent from around the world.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton explains, these Jersey boys may have the largest cheer squad there.
The pride for the little league team is spreading as fast as they can throw a baseball.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Elizabeth resident Mike Wansow.
“This team has captured the heart of the city. Not only the city, but state,” said another resident.
“I want to cry, my heart is ecstatic, and I’m loving Jersey is back on the map,” said Union resident Chastity Santana.
Some 300 super fans poured on to six coach buses to make the three hour journey to Williamsport, Penn. to cheer on the Elmora Troopers – the 13 boys the make up the Elizabeth baseball team are competing Friday night for the title of Little League World Series champs.
“These kids work hard and we want to show our support,” one fan said.
“There is no better way than to spend time watching the baseball game,” said Elizabeth resident Kevin Rodriguez.
“We are going to win today and go all the way to the end,” said a fan.
Last weekend, the team beat Haverstraw from Rockland County 19-4 in the championship game for the midatlantic region. Olga Ortiz’s son-in-law coaches the team and her grandson Sal Garcia plays on it. She’s been to countless games and couldn’t miss this one.
“Every one is absolutely thrilling. One is better than the other,” she said.
This will be the biggest game yet for her 12-year-old grandson.
“We are so blessed to be going through this journey with my grandson,” she said. “Super excited, super emotional, super proud of my grandson Sal. He has worked so hard.
The team’s determination even garnered support from kids in nearby towns, like 10-year-old Anthony DiGirolamo from Union.
“We are big fans and it would just be amazing if our next door neighbors would win the World Series,” he said.
The little league team is making a big impact on their town and state, win or lose.
All of the coach buses for travel were donated.
The team will go up against a team from Salem, Oregon.