Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Citrus Park arrives in Williamsport

Residents of Williamsport, Pa., watch the welcome parade featuring all representatives at the Little League World Series.

Associated Press

Residents of Williamsport, Pa., watch the welcome parade featuring all representatives at the Little League World Series.

Life is pretty sweet for Southeast representative Citrus Park at the Little League World Series.

Since arriving in Williamsport, Pa., after an exhausting nine-hour trip — two hours of which were spent waiting for a bus at the airport in Newark, N.J., another five riding on said bus — the only difficult decision facing the players is choosing between free games of pingpong and Nintendo Wii or cannonballs in the pool.

"It's really nice," Citrus Park outfielder Daniel Martin said. "They have a pool, dining area, gift shop and a game room for everybody."

Wednesday, the team from northwest Hillsborough County spent an hour with baseball equipment suppliers and grabbed enough swag to make its coaches wonder why they spent so much time packing.

"Easton provided every kid with a bat," Citrus Park manager Joe McGuire said. "Everybody got Easton shoes; I got some coaching shoes and the kids got some cleats. They also provided us with three sets of catchers gear, with the World Series insignia on it. Louisville Slugger gave the kids batting gloves and bats. Wilson gives the kids batting gloves, helmet and bats."

The dormitories where the coaches and players stay are "really nice" according to McGuire. Citrus Park is sharing the first floor with Mexico representative Matamoros LL.

"It's kind of hard to talk to some of the kids because they obviously don't know English," Martin said. "If you talk to the kids from Japan you have to use hand motions. … Saudi Arabia knows English, Mexico does a little bit, Curacao does a little bit. Japan and Europe, not really."

Thursday, the team rode on a float with the Caribbean representative from Curacao in a parade through downtown Williamsport.

Oh, and there's also the little matter of playing baseball. Citrus Park begins its quest for the World Series championship at 2 p.m. today against Canyon Lake LL (Rapid City, S.D.).

The team held half-hour practices Wednesday and Thursday at Volunteer and Lamade stadiums, where the World Series games will be played, and spent an hour each day in the batting cages. A half-hour session with a strength and conditioning coach taught the team how to stretch properly.

"(The field) looks great," Martin said. "The grass is nice. The play is good. The dugouts are good. Everything looking out to the outfield looks nice. I can't wait to play on it."

After dismantling Alabama in the Southeast Region final at Gulfport, Citrus Park is one of the favorites to capture the U.S. championship, possibly more.

"We have a good team," Martin said. "We have a good defense. But there are some good teams here, the best from where they come. So it'll be a challenge."


Little League World Series

When/where: Today-Aug. 24, Williamsport, Pa.

Citrus Park opener: Today vs. Midwest region champion Canyon Lake LL (Rapid City, S.D.), 2 p.m., ESPN


Batter up

Format: Eight regional championship teams from the United States are separated into pools of four teams. Each team plays three pool games, and the top two finishers from each pool advance to the U.S. semifinal. Simultaneously, a group of eight international teams play the same format as the U.S. tournament. The U.S. and international champions meet Aug. 24 for the world championship.

Citrus Park's pool play schedule: Today vs. Midwest region champ Canyon Lake LL (Rapid City, S.D.), 2 p.m., ESPN; Sunday vs. West region champ Waipio LL (Waipahu, Hawaii), 8 p.m., ESPN2; Monday vs. New England region champ Shelton National LL (Connecticut), 6 p.m., ESPN2

Citrus Park arrives in Williamsport 08/14/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2008 4:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  2. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  4. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  5. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...