Chandler police, firefighters, politicians, school board members and hundreds of fans turned out Saturday to honor the Chandler Little League team that advanced last month to the national semifinals of the Little League World Series.
A parade that circled the Snedigar Recreation Center in Chandler featured the Chandler High School marching band, and a proclamation from Gov. Janet Napolitano declared Saturday as Chandler National Little League Baseball Day in Arizona.
“This group of individuals never lost sight of the fact that baseball should be played, first and foremost, for fun,” said Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, who read the proclamation from the governor.
During the ceremony, players and coaches from the Chandler National Little League Minor All-Stars gave thanks to their supporters during the season and shared some memories from playing at Williamsport, Pa.
“It was a wonderful experience,” player Matthew Haggerty told the crowd. “I am going to miss it.”
Player Cody Bellinger said his favorite part about the World Series was “playing on Lamade Field and missing school.”
Coach Chris McCann said the season “was a blast.”
“The boys just kept exceeding expectations,” McCann said.
McCann’s son, Jack, said the parade and ceremony was awesome.
“I didn’t realize this many people care about us,” the 13-year-old outfielder said.
The crowd braved the hot weather to come out and support the Chandler team, many of whom did not know the players personally.
Chris Miller of the Ocotillo neighborhood, whose son played in the Chandler National Little League, said the team is going to bring a lot more attention to the league.
“It’s kind of neat to see the kids in person, rather than off the TV,” said Al Prosek of Mesa. “They are getting kind of a legacy going here.”