BETTENDORF, Iowa — It's been 47 years since Davenport's Southeast Little League has played in the World Series, but the Midwest champs took the international stage in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
While the 12U team took the field against Hagerstown, Ind. (Great Lakes Region), dozens of families gathered at The Tangled Wood in Bettendorf to watch the game.
During the two rain delays, the kids were playing their own baseball game outside the restaurant and bar. Some of the kids play on the 10U Southeast team and said the pick-up game is practice for when they hope to make the Little League World Series themselves.
All of the kids were impressed that a team from Davenport was playing in front of so many people on TV.
"I think they're really nervous, but also are pumped up and are trying to get themselves to be positive because they want this win," Lainey Petersen said.
"It's so cool, I mean, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them," Kinley Lank said. "I just think it's really great for them and they really deserve it."
Some added that it was nerve-wracking to watch kids they know play.
"They practice a lot and they work hard and they keep a good attitude," FJ Lank said. "I really like just watching them do what they do and I like watching the pitching and hitting."
They said the Southeast team's hard work has paid off because the boys are good at both hitting and fielding.
Despite coming back from a 7-1 deficit, Davenport ended up falling to Indiana 8-7 in the bottom of the sixth.
Southeast will play Bonney Lake, Wash. (Northwest) Saturday at 2 p.m. in hopes of avoiding elimination. The kids have faith in the Davenport team though.
"If they keep up good hitting, good pitching, I really think they're going to win it all," Kinley Lank said.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on WQAD.