For the second consecutive year, a local youth baseball team has made their name known in the Little League World Series race.
Last year, it was the Mamie Johnson Little League team from Washington, D.C., which made a historic run as the first predominantly black team to make the tournament overall.
This year, a Loudoun County team from South Riding, Virginia, will represent the Southeast Region in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Prior to the Nationals 7:05 p.m. start against the Reds on Monday, Matt Adams, Ryan Zimmerman, and Howie Kendrick offered advice to the Loudoun team and reminisced over their own failed attempts to make the infamous LLWS.
Of the three, Adams came the closest to Williamsport...because he lived about an hour and a half away.
"I went there a lot as a kid," Adams said. "Sliding down that hill in center field...you know you see it on TV, everybody that goes there...they're trying to round up a piece of cardboard or anything they can get their hands on to go down that hill."
As outsiders to the experience in Williamsport, at least the experience of playing in the final rounds of the tournament, all three Washington major-leaguers stressed that the most important thing for the Loudoun team is to have fun.
"There's a lot of pressure on these kids playing travel ball," Kendrick said. "you've just got to remember to be a kid and enjoy it and love it. I think when all of us were kids we just enjoyed the game and we did it because we loved it. I hope that all of them love it and they want to be successful at it."
Zimmerman echoed Kendrick's feelings about the game and the importance of having fun and not caring as much about the outcome of the game. The Nationals' first baseman emphasized his hope that the sport continues to grow.
"Any sports needs to continue to have young guys and girls play," Zimmerman said. "Having a team be on ESPN...maybe that will encourage some people to play that wouldn't have before. It's definitely a great thing."
Loudoun County faces the New England region representative at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 15. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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