Longmeadow little league team’s division championship banner vandalized
LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - One local little league team is on the road to a state championship, but that road does not come without obstacles.
The Longmeadow Intermediates are a 13-under baseball team based right here in western Mass. and they are now the number 1 seed in the state semifinals after winning their division title.
“It’s all the marbles every game now,” said Assistant Coach Kevin Fleming.
If they win this weekend’s game, they will be in the state finals, and if they win that, they will be crowned Massachusetts state champions and go on to regionals, where they will take on intermediate teams from other states.
Coach Fleming shared with Western Mass News how proud he is of the team for how far they have gotten and how much they have overcome, from nail biting match ups to vandalism on their home field, Turner Park.
“I got to say, the comradery, they really do support each other, they don’t seem to get rattled, which is really mature for kids their age,” Coach Fleming told us.
Although their division championship banner was torn down, the Longmeadow Intermediate All Stars are not letting that discourage them ahead of this weekend’s state championship.
“Yeah, hopefully we’ll win our next banner,” said third baseman Connor Fleming.
“Yep, and we can put that one up in the place of it,” added first baseman Asher Sparks.
Coach Fleming explained that after winning the division championship, the team only had that banner for half a day before it was stolen. He said that it was disheartening after everything the players went through the past 4 years to earn that banner.
“They lost at nine u’s, pretty heavy COVID year, they didn’t get to play their 11 u’s here. They didn’t get to play because they didn’t have enough kids last year. They beat Westfield to get into the district finals and then lost. This year, they actually won.”
Although Coach Fleming said the players were a little taken aback, to them, the spirit of Longmeadow is not represented through the vandalism but instead through the team.
“The story seems to be about the resiliency,” he said. “They are such a gritty team. They’ve come back from games, really been down against really good teams. I think that spirit will definitely carry them through.”
“We can overcome everything that we can possibly deal with,” Sparks added.
Western Mass News reached out to Longmeadow Police, but have not yet heard back.
If you would like to catch the team at this weekend’s championship, they play at Dr. Arthur and Dr. Martha Pappas Recreation Complex in Auburn this Saturday at 4 p.m.
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