BETTENDORF, Iowa — Davenport's Southeast Little League team is back home in the Quad Cities after a historic trip in the World Series from Pennsylvania.
Family, friends, coaches and fans gathered Sunday, Aug. 28 at The Tangled Wood restaurant in Bettendorf to celebrate their journey.
With a 2-2 record, the team came up short, but supporters said their commitment meant much more.
"Couldn't be more prouder of them, I'm happy that they were able to achieve their goal," Southeast Little League President Thomas Mason IV said. "These kids have worked really hard - some of them since 8 years old."
Team staff said community support was key to the success.
"The community has really rallied around this team," Mason said. "I've seen comments on our Facebook page, where somebody was traveling from Iowa to North Carolina, and they watched the games the entire time they were travelling on business. People love this team. This is Iowa's Little League team."
Parents recognized the community impact of their kids' performance.
"To get so many texts and calls during the game or right after the game, it just helps you to feel like this was more than just a baseball game," parent Julie Kettmann said. "This was something that brought people together and gave people something to look forward to experiencing together. And to think that 12-year-old boys can help do that is pretty awesome."
Families said that supporting their athletes comes with a lot of time, but it's well worth it.
"It's a commitment for all the families, but I think it's amazing to see the kids thrive and grow and learn so much," Kettmann added. "They learn confidence, they learn to work together. It's been a great group of these 13 boys. They have wonderful relationships with each other, and we hope those friendships will continue to last."
The last time Southeast Little League competed at the World Series was 47 years ago.