For the first time in 63 years, there will be another Roswell baseball team with a chance to win it all. Roswell Intermediate team did that by coming from a 3-0 deficit to Texas East to win on a dominant pitching performance by Ross Stokes and he helped his own cause by hitting a grand slam homer to give them a 6-3 lead. Roswell shut the door and now are awaiting the winner of the East and Southeast baseball game that will be played today.
The team flew into San Francisco International Airport from George Bush International Airport on Friday at 6:15 a.m. They arrived with their travel buddies — the team from an Australian baseball team. The kids were fitted for uniforms by Adidas. They were given hats, jackets, baseball uniforms and shoes, which they will get to keep. Once they were done with that, they took team pictures and went for a swim. Roswell was surprised by several taco trucks. When it was all said and done, three of the team members were so exhausted they fell asleep by 6:30 p.m.
“This is the ride of a lifetime,” Manager Kyle Stokes said. “The coaches and kids are enjoying every minute of it. We’re making friends and memories that will last a lifetime.”
Some of the other teams competing there will be Puerto Rico, Mexico, Australia, Korea, Canada and the Czech Republic. Stokes feels like his team is not only getting to play baseball but getting a life lesson in meeting people from other countries.
The Roswell boys are learning that their opponents are kids just like them and are separated by countries. Sports and baseball are great unifiers. It is becoming that the boys have a lot more in common, being youngsters just wanting to play baseball.
“Little League is based on bonds that cement a community together,” Stokes said. “It strongly supports friendships and bonds people together.”
RDR Sports has asked the thoughts of each boy on the team for his most special moment of the journey so far, and if giving up their summer has been worth it.
Ross Stokes: “I don’t mind giving up my summer. I’ve been playing All-Stars for five straight summers. Before that, I followed my brother’s (Rhett) All-Star runs. I got to be with my friends and play baseball. It’s a win-win! My favorite memory so far is pitching well in the championship game at regionals and hitting a dong (grand slam) in the top of the sixth inning to put us ahead.”
Isaiah Herrera: “Win or lose, I feel like the stage we got to, it was definitely worth giving up my summer for!! My favorite moment is sharing this entire experience with my team, coaches, family and being a part of history for Roswell.”
Cinco Holloway: “One, I hung out with some of my best friends and played baseball. I don’t feel like I gave up my summer. Two, winning regionals and coming to the World Series has been my favorite memory so far — until we win the Series!”
Isaac Loya: “It was worth it, because we made it to California, and we came back to win in Houston to make it to the World Series.”
Matthew Campos: “I feel that this is the best summer ever, we are at the World Series. This is a dream come true. Thank God! Second, winning regionals and making it to the World Series and representing Roswell, New Mexico, and the Southwest Region.”
Jack Peterson: “I like baseball, so I don’t care that I give up the summer, this has been an awesome summer for me. The best memory so far is we won regionals.”
Michael Mathison: “I’m pretty happy about giving up my summer, we’re going to the World Series! Winning regionals was my favorite moment so far this summer.”
Wesley Gallegos: “I feel great about giving up my summer for baseball because we came this far. My most memorable moment from this experience so far was winning the regional championship game and celebrating.”
Reeco Lujan: “Good!! It was worth it because I’m getting an experience of a lifetime getting to play in the Little League World Series — winning regionals and hitting home runs.”
Jonathan Silva: “It was all worth it in the end. My favorite memory had to be the championship game; the feeling was great.”
Andrew Baca: “I feel good giving up my summer to play baseball because I was able to keep playing baseball, and we made it to California. My favorite moment/memory was winning the championship game in Houston.”
Dylan Kermode: “I don’t feel like I gave up anything — I’m around friends I love being around. Also, winning regionals and going to the World Series.”
Coach Stokes has told RDR Sports he will keep the good people in Roswell in suspense and not give us an inside look into who will be on the hill for game one. If RDR Sports was making a calculated guess, look for Michael Mathison to get the ball in game one. Depending on how the first game goes, look for Stokes or Loya to start the second and possible third games. All of the pitchers should be fresh with almost a week off between games pitched.
“Where else in the world,” Stokes said, “do you have all these countries being represented at one place competing against each other and still smiling, shaking hands and high-fiving each other after games. Thanks to Roswell for making this a lifetime of memories for my team, coaches, myself and family.”
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.