The boys from Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores arrived in Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday night, and have since been soaking in the atmosphere ahead of their Little League World Series opener at 4 p.m. Friday against Idaho (on ESPN).
On Tuesday afternoon, second baseman Reggie Sharpe, 12, of Grosse Pointe Woods spoke with The News about his experience so far.
His "diary" has been edited for length and clarity.
"One of the best things has been the free stuff, of course. Our team colors (for the Great Lakes Regional) are blue and orange, and those are great. The Easton guys that gave us the stuff, they were really nice. They were fun. I personally got the custom (blue-and-orange) glove, some of the other guys got a tan glove. And there were, like, I think four bats you could choose from. There might have been five. One of them was the Ghost Pro. The other one was the Beast Pro, and there was a Drop 10 and then there was a Drop Eight. A lot of guys like the color of the Ghost, it's like a neon orange, with an 'X' on the barrel. It's a great design.
"We also got batting gloves and fielding gloves, made by Easton. They bake them for us. They put them in the steamer, that softens them up, and they pound them with mallets. That breaks them in even more."
(The players also got new helmets and bat bags, and the catchers each received all new, blue-and-orange equipment. "It's like Christmas for them," coach Kurt Barr interjected. "They're still playing with all this stuff.")
"You know, we have met a lot of the other teams from different states and countries, too, and practiced a little bit, hitting in the cages. The recreational room, we've spent a lot of time with the other teams there. One of the most fun parts is just meeting the other teams from different states and stuff.
"We've got the Australians staying next to us. We share a bathroom with them and get to see them in the mornings and nights. (The Australians presented the Woods-Shores team with koala bear trinkets.) Definitely, it's interesting. It kind of feels unreal talking to them. The accents, it's just, 'Wow.'
"The media stuff has been a blast, too, especially when we did our intros and stuff, the voice stuff. We did the intros and got to use a few props and have fun, and dance around. It is a lot of fun. My teammate, Chase Mazey, he's got a great intro. He has these big glasses on, with a painter's bucket and a paint brush. He's painting like a strike zone. I think that's gonna turn out cool.
"My first impression of the stadium, the first thing I saw was the scoreboard. You're pulling up, and see the scoreboard, I was just like, 'Wow, that's great.' It's almost major-league level, it is major-league level. It's a huge scoreboard. The fields are very nice, too."
(Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores dominated its Great Lakes Regional earlier this month in suburban Indianapolis to earn its spot in the LLWS.)
"Yeah, I did expect that. OK, OK, I wouldn't say we expected it, but it's our goal. We go into games thinking we're going to win. You have to know your team, know how good you are. We can't go into a game thinking we're going to lose."
(No surprise, then, winning is the ultimate goal in Williamsport, too.)
"Well, yeah, that would be pretty ideal."
Little League World Series
Game 1: Puerto Rico vs. South Korea, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Staten Island vs. Des Moines, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Mexico vs. Australia, 5 p.m.
Game 4: Coventry vs. Houston, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Spain vs. Japan, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores vs. Coeur d’Alene, 4 p.m.
Game 7: Panama vs. British Columbia, 6 p.m.
Game 8: Peachtree City vs. Honolulu, 8 p.m.
Game 9: Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 10: Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 3 p.m.
Game 11: Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 loser, 6 p.m.
Game 12: Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 loser, 8 p.m.
Game 13: Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 9 a.m.
Game 14: Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 11 a.m.
Game 15: Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 16: Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2 p.m.
Game A: Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 loser, 11 a.m.
Game 17: Game 15 loser vs. Game 9 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 18: Game 16 loser vs. Game 10 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 19: Game 13 loser vs. Game 11 winner, 6 p.m.
Game 20: Game 14 loser vs. Game 12 winner, 8 p.m.
TUESDAY, AUG. 21
Game B: Game 11 loser vs. Game 12 loser, 11 a.m.
Game 21: Game 17 winner vs. Game 19 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 22: Game 18 winner vs. Game 20 winner, 7:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 22
Game 23: Game 13 winner vs. Game 15 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 24: Game 14 winner vs. Game 16 winner, 7:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, AUG. 23
Game 25: Game 21 winner vs. Game 23 loser, 3 p.m.
Game 26: Game 22 winner vs. Game 24 loser, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, AUG. 24
Game 27: Game 23 winner vs. Game 25 winner, 12:30 p.m.
United States Championship
Game 28: Game 24 winner vs. Game 26 winner, 3:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, AUG. 25
Game 29: Loser Game 27 vs. Loser Game 28, 10 a.m.
Game 30: Winner Game 27 vs. Winner Game 28, 3 p.m.